Creating and using Marsville roles and life support teams

There are seven basic roles designed as part of the Marsville program. These roles can be adjusted however you wish. There is no need to have all the roles (though a project manager is very important) and you can merge the roles as you see fit. Teams of 5 or 6 are usually the best.

List of Roles

Each role has its own series of responsibilities:
Project Manager:
  • Leads and facilitates the group through the tasks making sure everyone understands and performs their responsibilities.
  • Sole person responsible for summoning the help of the teacher or Mission Control.

Research Analyst
  • Reads all instructions and printed materials.Looks up any additional information needed by the team and records the answers.
  • Makes sure that the science and technology activities are completed.
Communications Specialist
  • Responsible for all aspects of communication, such as fax, email, conference areas, regular mail, telephone messages.
  • Prepares material to be sent to other members of the Habitat Crew.
  • Composes and sends the questions to mentors and other support personnel.
  • Posts, on a daily basis, the messages and responses for all members of the habitat team on the Team Blog.
Project Scientist:
  • Responsible for the science component of the mission.
  • Monitors all science activities and reports findings on a regular basis.
  • Makes sure that expert advice has been obtained to assist in the research.
Materials Specialist
  • Gathers all materials required for activities.
  • Makes sure the correct materials are used in all activities and that the system design uses materials that best simulate what would be suitable for Mars.
Project Engineer
  • Responsible for the technology component of the mission.
  • Monitors all technology activities and reports findings on a regular basis.
  • Makes sure that expert advice has been obtained to assist in the design and construction of the life-support system.
Public Affairs Officer
  • Responsible for publicizing Canadian National Marsville in the school and local community.
  • Invites community members to the class - speakers, reporters, engineers, team mentors.
  • Writes articles for school newspaper, local media, radio stations, etc.
  • This position can be assumed by the Communication Specialist depending on the number of students in the team.

Things to keep in mind (when selecting students for roles)

For each role, there are some important attributes to consider for each student:
Project Manager:
  • Can take charge of a group
  • Contributes without taking over
  • Leads; will be followed
Project Scientist:
  • Has an affinity for sciences
  • Is analytical and methodical
  • Can have a leadership role (for experiments)
Project Engineer
  • Enjoys planning; is creative
  • Is a visual person; can draw diagrams
  • Can have a leadership role (for building the life support system)
Research Analyst
  • Is tech savvy
  • Works well in a supporting role (supports engineer and scientist)
Communications Specialist/Public Affairs Officer
  • Enjoys writing
  • Good role for the non-scientifically inclined
  • Takes good notes
  • Works independently (this role tends to be more ofa reporter than full-on participant)
Materials Specialist
  • Is organised
  • Can be creative in finding uses for objects
  • Will take the initiative to be involved (easiest role to coast with!)

How to put together the teams

Some teachers will put the teams together and assign roles themselves. Some will have the students create the teams and decide who will take on which role. But what many teachers will do is a combination: students will apply for a job (or three) and the teacher will use those applications to create groups. This gives the students choice in the matter and they are less likely to be "stuck" with a role they dislike, and the teacher can use their knowledge of the students to create functional groups.

Sample Marsville Job Application