Planning Marsville

Teachers sometimes feel overwhelmed approaching the dates for Marsville. The questions we get most ofthen is "How do I plan this?" What it boils down to, is that you, as the teacher, can plan Marsville the same way you would plan any unit. Every teacher has their own style and their own approach to planning. This guide is not a "must-do"; it is here as an optional way to approach Marsville. It may help you; it may not. Like everything else on this wiki, take what you like and ignore the rest. :)

Before you Start

  • Familiarize yourself with the Marsville program. Explore this wiki, and the NRC Marsville site if you feel so inclined.
  • Check out the resource material available to assist in the implementation of the program.
  • Decide which unit you want to join with your Marsville program. Check out our Science page for suggestions.
  • Pick which activities and experiments are appropriate for your class and your goals. There are suggestions on the Supplementary Activities page, and tons of resources in science textbooks, in the Manitoba Curriculum for Science, or elsewhere on the web.


  • Consider the timeframe for the program - check out the Timeline for some suggestions.
  • Decide how long and how often students will work on activities. Will it be on a daily or weekly basis?
    • Most teachers simply use their Science periods for Marsville work.
  • Consider ways to extend activities for students who may wish to go further. Check out our Science page for suggestions.
  • Suggestion: Make a large class chart indicating the key dates for specific activities.

Prepare with your Students in Mind

  • Introduce the program to your students. There are some ideas on our Start up page.
  • Decide how many teams and which roles you want to use, based on your students' strengths and your classroom community.
  • Consider when whole group, small group, and individual assignments are appropriate.
  • Consider when whole group, small group, and individual instruction is appropriate.
  • Set aside a section of the classroom to store materials and projects-in-progress.

Background Knowledge and Skills

  • Assess whether students have the essential background knowledge and skills required for the activities.
  • Determine how particular skills and knowledge can be acquired if this background is limited. Review topics such as:
    • technical reading and writing
    • report writing
    • letter writing - encourage students to write for information and resource material
    • conducting experiments using the scientific method
    • use of scale in designing and constructing models and prototypes


  • Review or teach different methods of recordkeeping for your students. Some options are:
    • Electronic portfolio
    • Checklists
    • Charts
    • Forms (from the teacher or created by the students)
    • Duo tang folders
    • File cards
    • 3-ring binder
    • Computer files.
  • Students can use a Mission Logduring the program to record and communicate results.
    • They can also create a Team Blog, which could also be used to communicate with other classes doing the Marsville program.