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Denise Wright

Using NASA Mars Perseverance Robotic Exploration to prepare students for future STEM careers

2021 STEM Scholar
Myrtle Beach, SC Ocean Bay Middle School

Denise’s Big Idea:

Students used the DF Robot Maqueen Plus to complete a variety of missions similar to the NASA Perseverance Rover Missions. Students programmed the robot and built attachments to retrieve samples similar to the Rover. They used the robot’s artificial intelligence ability to identify rock samples and used object avoidance to move along the prototype Mars simulated surface. Students learned about the physics of flight and emulated a flying drone similar to Ingenuity flying over the Mars surface. Through PBL and using the robot, they learned how to code in Python – a common computer language that currently programs websites. They gained soft skills such as the ability to work on a team, creativity and critical thinking. Students kept up to date on the Mars Mission and learned about artificial intelligence and how it will change the future of work. Students also learned about the physics of flight and the science it took to fly a drone on Mars.

Interesting Facts:  

Denise loves everything involving space, robotics, and STEM! Among her many achievements, she volunteers for NASA as a Solar System Ambassador and runs both an adult amateur astronomy club and a middle school astronomy club.

In her own words: “Many students believe you must be an astronaut to work at NASA but there are so many more career opportunities in STEM, such as engineering, design, business and education. Coding, robotics and drone technology will continue to improve our daily lives and exposing students to these opportunities will pique their interest and expand curiosity.”