Got a question? E-mail the webmaster Tannis Silver at: tannis.silver -at- 7oaks.org

What is Marsville?

The Canadian National Marsville program (often called simply Marsville, but should not be confused with the US version of Marsville, or the TV show Marsville) is a fun way to explore the Earth and Space Science curriculum - with lots of cross-curricular ideas and activities! Students prepare for their adventure by studying space exploration and the planet Mars. In teams, they design and build life support systems and communicate with other sites. On Link-up Day, they come together to build a Mars habitat and showcase their survival systems.

Who owns Marsville?

I'll admit, no one really asks this question, but it is important to let you know that the Canadian National Marsville program is owned by the National Research Council of Canada. In fact, much of the content on this wiki is directly from the NRC Marsville website itself.

How do I sign up for Marsville?

Check with your school division or e-mail the Winnipeg Marsville coordinator, Jeff Cieszecki, at jeff.cieszecki -at- 7oaks.org.

How much does it cost to be a part of Marsville?

The cost for participation in Winnipeg's Marsville is $75 per class. This covers the cost of materials for Link Up Day. Some school divisions (such as Seven Oaks) will cover this cost, so check it out!

Are there any due dates I need to be aware of?

The Mission Patches will have to be submitted in time to be added to the poster, and the Life Support Teams and Life Support Systems have to be submitted in order for the Habitat teams for Link Up Day to be created.

What are the benefits of Marsville?

Marsville is fun, interactive, easily integrated, well structured, and flexible. It supports inquiry research, project-based learning, or direct teaching styles. Teachers benefit from having an engaging program with many resources at their disposal. Students benefit from working in a team with well-defined roles. All benefit from the structure inherent to the program and the easy way the program can be adapted to meent the needs of the classroom community, the teacher's methods, and the learners' styles. The most important part is that it inspires imagination and creativity in budding scientists, and helps develops a passion for space and scientific exploration!

OK, I've signed up. Now what do I do?

Well, that depends on you! There are many different approaches to Marsville, each as unique as the teacher putting it together. There is no need to change your teaching style or assessment methods to accomodate Marsville; use whatever works best for you.

That's great, but, seriously... what do I do?

The easiest way to start is to divide your class into teams, giving each student a role to play. Students can then start their investigation into whichever aspect of the science curriculum you want them to explore, as well as investigating Mars itself. Marsville is most often used by grade 6 classes to explore space, but there are many strong opportunities for grade 7 and grade 8 classes to jump into Marsville as well. You may choose to investigate some of the integration ideas to bring Marsville into the various areas of your classroom. Once you feel your students have a strong grasp of Mars and the fundamental concepts of science you have chosen to explore, have them select (or assign to them) a life support system. The students will plan, design, and build a life support system that will allow humans to colonise Mars. All this will bring them to Link Up Day, where they will meet up with other Marsville participants from around the province, build their martian habitats, present their life support systems to a panel of intergalactic visitors (invitees from the science and engineering community) as well as other students, and deal with martian "emergencies".
So to summarise:
  1. Create teams and assign roles (Roles and Habitat Teams)
  2. Investigate Mars and space/particle theory/ecosystems/fluids/whatever you have chosen as your Marsville focus unit (Science)
  3. Decide which (if any) integration to add (Integration)
  4. Have each group create a life support system (Life Support Systems)
  5. Bring your class to Link Up Day (Link Up Day)

How long does it take to run Marsville?

As always, it depends on the teacher. Be sure to give your students enough time to thoroughly investigate the science concepts they will need to plan a strong life support system, and enough time to build the life support system. I have found that two months of investigation and mini-lessions, followed by one month of building the systems to work quite well.

How do I assess my students in Marsville?

Check out our Assessment Ideas page!