Voyage to Mars

Alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards – 6th-8th grade



The Next Generation Science Standards is a multi-state effort to create new education standards that are “rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.” The standards were developed by a consortium of 26 states and by the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Research Council, and Achieve, a nonprofit organization that was also involved in developing math and English standards. The public was also invited to review the standards, and organizations such as the California Science Teachers Association encouraged this feedback. Illinois adopted the NGSS in February 2014.


Below, you can find information about how our program fits in with the NGSS.




DCI – Disciplinary Core Ideas



MS-ESS1: Earth’s Place in the Universe

MS-ESS2: Earth’s Systems

MS-ESS3: Earth and Human Activity

MS-ETS1: Engineering Design (Battlebots)




Science & Engineering Practices


4. Analyzing and interpreting data

All students do this in the teams they are a part of during the simulated mission. While they are in Mars Control, they are responsible for recording, analyzing, and interpreting the data that they are given by their teammates in the Mars Transport Vehicle.


6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)

Students do this in the Mars Control portion of the simulated mission, as they must use the information and data that they are given by their teammates in the Mars Transport Vehicle to construct an argument based on the information they are presented with. For example, a team member on the Life Support team might be given a humidity reading from the Mars Transport Vehicle, and it is their job to determine whether the humidity reading is too high, too low, or if it is an appropriate level. They must also explain why this is, and suggest solutions for their teammates in the MTV to combat this problem.


7. Engaging in argument from evidence

This is also a responsibility that students have as they go through their simulated mission. When they are all in their teams, they are all responsible for constructing an argument from the evidence that they are given. They also must construct an argument from evidence during the mid-mission briefing, when they answer a distress call from some stranded geologists and must decide the best course of action in order to save them.


8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

All students do this in the teams they are part of during the simulated mission. While they are in the Mars Transport Vehicle, they are all responsible for obtaining information and data. Some of this information is evaluated in the Mars Transport Vehicle; other parts of it are evaluated in the Mars Control portion. All students must communicate the information and data that they obtain.