Education Event Archives

Welcome to the Education Team Events archive. We post photos and stories about presentations where the Mars Society Education team has been out to talk to students and teachers. Please see entries of our past events.

Past Mars Society Speaking events and coverage are listed below:


Education Director Nicole Willett gave two web presentations this week through Nepris (   Reshma Kader and Mark Fry organized the two events with a group of 4th and 6th graders.

On Tuesday April 29, 2014, Willett gave a presentation titled, “Colonizing Mars” to a 4th grade class at Oak Hill Academy in Lincroft, New Jersey. The teacher, Ms. Cahalane, had a very enthusiastic and intelligent group of students. They asked wonderful questions and learned a lot about the Red Planet and how we will eventually terraform and colonize it.

lamar middle schoolOn Wednesday April 30, 2014, Willett presented to a group of 6th grade students at Lamar Middle School in Irving, Texas. Ms. Trish Owens was the teacher that requested the presentation. The title was, “Exploring Beyond our Planet.” The students asked many questions including many questions about Mars and the people that want to settle the Red Planet.

Lamar tweet 2


If you would like a presentation for your class, please contact:

[Image: Lamar Middle, Twitter]


Current event YRCEducation Director Nicole Willett hosted a STEM event at the 3rd Annual Science Night at Benedictine Military School on March 26, 2014.  The event featured speakers from many areas of science.  Some of the highlights of the event were projects completed by the senior astronomy and honors current event rover and kidsastronomy classes.  The projects were Mars themed including a simulated human to Mars mission, a terraforming Mars mission, and the Youth Rover Challenge was on display.  Visiting children participated in many activities such as making and eating Marsmallows, alka-seltzer rocket launch, digging for dinos on Mars and driving a student made Curiosity Rover.  current event telescopesKevin Bell of the Oglethorpe Astronomical Association brought telescopes out for the students to look at solar flares, Jupiter and its moons, and the Orion Nebula.  The event was a huge success and enjoyed by all.

[Images: Noell Barnidge]



Boy Scouts WashingtonOn November 12, 2013, Education Director Nicole Willett hosted a WebEx for Boy Scout Troop 148 Chartered by First Presbyterian Church of Kennewick, Washington.  This troop has enjoyed an innovative program best reflected by some of the highlights of its program in recent years. For example, a camping trip planned to an astronomy theme included an evening at the Goldendale Observatory using a massive telescope. A camping trip for a nature theme included hiking and exploring the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. For an aviation theme, the troop worked with local pilots to conduct a flight day in which all the Scouts attended a short ground school and took a flight with a local pilot.

Boy Scouts Washington2The virtual presentation started with our place in the universe, the galaxy and the solar system in order to orient the students to the proximity of Mars to Earth.  Next, a general overview of Mars was presented followed by The Mars Society’s reasons for going to Mars.  Human exploration and settlement of Mars was the major theme of the talk.

[Images: Teri Comstock]


Summerfest-Coastal Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America – July 22, 2013

IMG_0757Nicole Willett hosted a station at Summerfest at the Savannah Civic Center on July 22, 2013.  The STEM area was filled with Mars Society educational materials and ongoing presentations.  There were participants from all over the southeastern US that stopped in to IMG_0782hear about all of the activities the Mars Society is involved in and the human exploration and settlement of Mars.  This event was presented by the Coastal Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Summerfest is an exciting, competitive, and fun-filled indoor summer camp experience.  Events covered many areas of interest and all youth had multiple activities to enjoy.  Summerfest was open to all currently registered Venturers, Explorers, Sea Scouts and Boy Scouts 14 and up, and registered adults working with Crews, Posts, Ships or Troops.

Activities included:

  • IMG_0775bSTEM Interactive Programs – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math related activities [The Mars Society Educational Outreach]
  • Law Enforcement, Firefighter, EMT/Paramedic Activities & Competitions
  • Fun Physical Challenges: Rock Climbing, Zip Line, Flying Squirrel, Caving, Football Toss and Rope Climbing
  • Urban Compass Course

[Images: Nicole Willett]


WebEx With the Ohio Chapter of The Mars Society – June 29, 2013

Scrn Sht Ohio WebExNicole Willett hosted a WebEx with the Ohio Chapter of The Mars Society.  Chapter Lead Patrick Craig invited her to speak at Expressions Coffee House in Fairborn, Ohio.  The title of the WebEx was, “Why are we talking about going to Mars at a time like this?”  Some of the issues discussed were:  Why should we go to Mars when there are so many issues on Earth?  How much money does a Ohio WebExMars mission cost and who is going to pay for it?  Shouldn’t we go to the Moon instead of Mars?  The answers to these questions are involved and every facet of the reasons for a human mission to Mars was covered.  The guests asked several questions and they were engaged with the presentation.


The Boy Scouts Listen: Mars Rovers and the Future of Mars – June 15th, 2013

Boy Scouts Bringing together 200 children to talk about Mars can be an interesting event. And in the summer it can get pretty hot with the humidity and sun of June near Chicago. The scouts invited out Mars Society’s Chuck McMurray to spend 60 minutes talking about where Rovers have explored and what its going to take to colonize Mars.

Questions arised like when might we goto Mars and what will it take to have animals and plants to live there? Chuck was happy to provide his best answers and continue to engage the students of what they think it would take to continue to colonize Mars.

These scouts were between 2nd and 4th grade and were earning a badge for their Space Exploration patches. Not only were the students engaged, but the parents seemed interested as well. Another talk is to take place on June 27th at a park in Willowbrook.

We would like to thank the Willowbrook Troop for inviting us out to talk about Mars!


Nicole Willett Presents to Georgia Educators Science Conference June 4th, 2013

nicoleMars Society Education Director Nicole Willett gave a lecture about the human exploration and settlement of Mars at the SW Georgia Science Educators Conference in Camilla, Ga earlier today. Nicole’s talk is part of the Mars Society’s educational outreach program, which she initiated last year. Good work Nicole!!


First Graders are all ears about Mars! – May 4th, 2013

20130504-155747Spent my Friday lunch our doing much more than eating. I jetted out to Springbrook Elementary to give another talk on behalf of Mars Society. And of course there isn’t a subject that I love more than our quest to the Red Planet.

The students were as enthusiastic (and more some) as I had expected. Questions arose about all kinds of things and especially related to Asteroids as that has been part of their recent curriculum. Its pretty amazing when you stand up in front of 100 little faces, realizing that the people in the room will not only see more news about the Red Planet than I ever will, but they might actually be part of the team that gets us there.


Astronomy Day at The Savannah Botanical Gardens – April 20th, 2013

TMS at astro day2On April 20, 2013, Nicole participated in a public outreach event called Astronomy Day at the Bamboo Farm.  Astronomy Day was conceived in 1973 and is intended to “bring astronomy to the people”. Events are planned to introduce the subject and/or advance astronomical knowledge for both children and adults, and are now held at more than a hundred locations throughout the world.  The Mars Society had a booth set up with all things Mars, including a Mars globe, several books by Dr. Zubrin, posters and infographics.  Many guests stopped in and asked very intriguing questions.  The children loved playing with the Mars globe and reading the books!


Science Night at Benedictine Military School-April 12, 2013251

On April 12, 2013 Nicole Willett hosted the Annual Science Night at Benedictine Military School to raise awareness of STEM subjects and the study of Mars. There were many guest speakers in attendance including David Seitz with a presentation titled, “Value of a Science Education”, George Sedberry, NOAA, who presented, “Coral Habitats off the Coast of Georgia:  Research and Management to Support Sustainable Use”, Chuck Watson, NASA Advisory Committee Member, who spoke about, “Why is it so hard to get into space?”, as well as many others.  Among the many displays and projects, such as the Walk through the 222Solar System, the students also presented the Journey to Mars project which utilized all of the sciences they have learned throughout their lives; they simulated a human mission to Mars. The students plotted trajectories, built rockets, terraformed the surface of the planet, built habitats, studied volcanoes, discovered alien life, and sequenced Martian DNA in the lab.  The Honors Astronomy Class built a replica of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover and allowed student guests to drive the rover across the Martian landscape just like the NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory! There were also hands on activities for the young students in attendance such as making edible Mars-mallows, digging for fossils on Mars, and launching rockets to Mars.  For more information and details to host your own Journey to Mars Science Night, please contact Nicole.


Mars Lunch Hour at Neuqua Valley HS – April 14th, 2013

It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world. Well today I hoped to maybe do just that – and to give back and get minds moving in the right direction for the future of Mars exploration.

nequahsNeuqua Valley High School in Naperville and their science department lead by Paul Vandersteer (and teacher Nick Marasco) were kind enough to invite me in during the lunch hour, and allowed me to present to a large audience of young high school minds. I presented broad level concepts around why its important to consider science careers in the future, and what it might take to actually get humans to the Red Planet. (and why we would even want to go there)

I had a full 90 minutes to present and discuss with his class about all things Mars. The topics I discussed were the basics of who’s going (Bar’s Lansdorp’s Mars OneDennis Tito’s Fly-By concepts) what it would take to get there, where we would go, why we haven’t gone and why we would go, and also how we would get there and how much it could potentially cost . We explored ideas about what happens to Mankind once we are there, from genetic mutation possibilities to native fuel source creation like that presented by Dr. Robert Zubrin. The students had great questions and showed some real enthusiasm to the topic. I even touched on how geospatial technologies like alteryx can consume and produce planetary geo-spatial data which might be needed for the future of Mars. Its in use today for research about Earth.

I would like to thank the Neuqua team for the time and look forward to joining more efforts to continue to educate and excite what we all consider to be the “Mars Generation”!


From Mars to the Stars – Springbrook 5th Grade Event – March 5th, 2013

20130310-115108Teaching can be the most rewarding thing many people can invest their time into. I found this to be true at a recent event that I decided to host, for the 5th grade class at Springbrook Elementary in Naperville. I had contacted the teachers there and let them know that as part of my quest to get Mars Direct story to the younger students.

The kids were very excited, and had lots of great questions. The subject of the presentation was called “From Mars to the Stars” and contained mostly facts about Mankind’s future efforts to get humans to a second planet, as well as topics and facts around star formation so that it could be tied back to their current curriculum.20130310-115126

As part of the effort, Naperville girls scouts troop 916 also helped me to design some 3-D objects (Stars and Planets) for display.











Skyping with students worldwide! – September 16th, 2012

a SRSOn September 16, 2012 Nicole hosted a Skype presentation to The School of Research Science in Dubai.  She spoke to a classroom full of girls ages 12-13.  Their teacher, Mr. Ryan Ball, was implementing a Mars research section into his curriculum.  The girls were very enthusiastic and really enjoyed having a teacher on screen from across the world!  Mr. Ball’s comments included, “Dear Nicole, I really cannot express how grateful I am for you helping me out on this project. To give your time to a complete stranger and put in extra work above & beyond to create resources for no reward just shows how kind you are…..Thank you again, Ryan”


Outreach with the Oglethorpe Astronomical Association – July 2012

IMG_0541 - CopyIn July 2012, Nicole visited the Oglethorpe Astronomical Association in Savannah, Ga.  She was invited to give a presentation about The Mars Society and a human mission to Mars.  Her presentation was well received by the group which has been in existence for over 50 years.  The group is made up of very enthusiastic observers who are dedicated to public outreach.