Aliens, Planets and Nebulae! Mission 1: Water Crisis

Once characters are created, it is time for the first mission. (Note that crew members can join anytime – just have them create a character.)

Mission: Water Crisis on Planet έρημος (Erimos)

Level(1-5): Level 1 (Little to no risk)

Location: Planet έρημος

Description: Planet έρημος has one continent that slopes into one giant mountain (think cone). The rest of the planet is a freshwater ocean. The entire population has had to relocate to the top of the mountain to avoid their 500-year storms. The problem is that they don’t have working pumps or ways to get the water up the mountain. Their government didn’t maintain documents and the society has forgotten how they handled the storms in the past. έρημος has sent a request to the Mathematical Astronomical Science Society (MASS) for assistance. Given the low risk and time table, the MASS has decided to send your crew on this mission.

Assignment: Design a solution for Planet έρημος to get water from their oceans to the top of the mountain. The continental mountain is cone-shaped. It is 3000 meters high and the base(diameter) is 8000 meters across. The team must include materials, measurements, and a drawing with their solution.

Note: This is a good time for the facilitator to add conditions for solutions to incorporate other subjects (science, history, writing, etc.). Example: Presentation includes a reference to current day water crises, a paragraph write-up, research into solution’s science (ex: how pumps work), and so on.

Ability Point Potential (rough rubric):

  • 2 ability points will be awarded for a clear description and showing the math used.
    • Materials (resources needed)
    • How your solution works
  • 1 ability point will be awarded for a clear drawing.
    • Measurements are important here
  • 1 ability point will be awarded for presentation.
  • 1 ability point will be awarded for more than one solution.
  • 1 ability point awarded for an awesome acronym.
  • Additional points for project-based rubric that facilitator adds.

Facilitator Notes:

Example Board Drawing for 10-12yr old class
  • For younger learners, the facilitator may want to draw a cone on the board and talk about cross sections. Encourage the use of drawing tools and measurements to figure out the hypotenuse (go outside with chalk and meter sticks).
  • For older learners, it is encouraged that the facilitator only help when needed.
  • Make sure that learners know their solutions must exist in the realm of possibilities (science) and that they have to be able to explain how things work.
  • Wait to discuss the Pythagorean Theorem, Pythagorean triples, and technologies proposed until required. See if the learners come around to some of these things.
  • Depending on class time allotted and age, you may want to facilitate research into technology: Drones, magnetic trains, underground tunneling, pumps, pollution, fuel, etc.

Mission 1 Wrap-up

Once learners are ready, have learners present their solutions. If there are key pieces missing then ask questions (ex: How is your train powered?). Discussion is key here – encourage problem-solving even during their presentation. The facilitator and learners may opt for iterations of their solutions.

Once solutions are finalized, award ability points. The facilitator can choose the abilities or give students an allotment to spend. Use the guidance above for how many points to award.

Once this mission is complete, learners can begin Mission 2.