Project Overview

MMS Mission:  Restore Order On Earth is an inquiry based cross-curricular, hands on project designed to guide students aged 11 – 14 years to recognize the cause of space weather, the impact of space weather on Earth, and how the NASA MMS mission will study magnetic reconnection, the ultimate driver of space weather. 

Who is it for?

The project has been designed for students aged 11-14, to be facilitated by teachers from subject disciplines including Science, Information Computer Technology, English, and Drama.

What do students do?

Presented with the problem of ‘restoring order on Earth’ by Solar Storm Surfer, a superhero who spends his time surfing the Earth’s magnetosphere looking for space weather, students work in teams to research to identify the causes of the problems on Earth and the purpose of the MMS mission.  They are given the option to conduct labs, build models or create animations to represent different parts of the space weather process visually, and they work on a class dramatic representation of the MMS mission.   Teams use the products they have created throughout the project to make newscasts that will educate the public in an informative, but engaging way to ‘restore order on Earth’.  Technology is used to compliment the project and to enable students to access and share the information they need to know to be able to see it through to completion.

How does it work?

The project can be followed in its entirety with all seven of the activities completed, or it can be dipped in to and out of according to your subject discipline and the resources you have available.  The project is designed to be flexible, so you can decide what you would like your students to take away from it and use the resources provided to do so effectively.  For example, if you are a science teacher and would like students to conduct labs, Activity 3 includes suggested labs that could be used to visually represent parts of the process.  If you are an information computer technology teacher and would like your students to use animation tools, you can guide your students down this route in Activity 3.  Use the Project Overview at the bottom of this page to assist you in determining how to tailor the project for your class.

There is a full set of detailed activity guides designed to help you facilitate the project effectively.  The focus is on questioning students to extend their thinking further rather than giving them all of the answers, and the key questions are scripted in each guide.  Avoid telling student to do something ‘just because’, or telling them what to do; instead they should be guided to realize the logical project flow through questioning. 

Many of the activities will be longer than the length of a standard school lesson.  These activities can be completed in parts over a series of lessons or in one block depending on your schedule, and the guides are divided into sections to assist you in dividing the activity according to the time you have available. 

How do I use the documents provided?

  • The Project Overview document below outlines the activity pre-requisites for each activity, the iste net.s covered by each activity, the duration of the activity, a summary of what students will be doing in each activity, and the cross-curricular links available in each activity.
  • The activity guides provide you with the detail you need to effectively facilitate the activity.  Depending on your confidence with the subject matter, you may feel confident enough to facilitate the activity in your own way, which is not a problem, as long as you ensure you follow the same iste net.s and attempt to achieve the same objectives.
  • Assessment rubrics have been provided to assess student skills and work products against activity objectives.
  • The MMS Key Messages outlines the solar storm process and the purpose of the NASA MMS mission. 
  • The suggested digital tools (social media, animation, video sharing, etc.) can be used to support the faciliation of this project.
  • Some of the activities contain optional student hand-outs like planning sheets and ‘just-in-time’ learning guides designed to be used when students need assistance or inspiration.

Download the Project Overview PDF