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Cherokee Trail Mars Project



Lindsey Anderson has undertaken an unusual task - preparing 4th grade students for life on Mars. Projects like Mission To Mars use a methodology called design thinking. It’s part of Cherokee Trail’s process of becoming a STEAM school. They began the transformation in 2015.

“Most of the STEAM elements connect naturally when you have a real-world problem based around content,” says Anderson. Students are tackling problems like communication, math, and even the utilization of human waste to make compost. “The more they do, the more they’re going to learn.” 

They are also learning how to work as a team, and how to problem solve. Anderson assumes the role of facilitator as the small groups guide themselves through their projects. “The amount of knowledge that they’re uncovering with their research and with their own curiosity I would say exceeds what they would ever learn in a textbook.

The future is uncertain when you are going to the red planet. More importantly Anderson knows that the future job market is uncertain. That is what she hopes the design thinking will ultimately help with most. “We don’t know what jobs are going to be available in 20 years, so I’m really teaching them to be adaptable.”

May 1, 2017 | By ccheline | Category: Cherokee Trail Elementary School

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It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.