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Destination: Mars Family STEM Night

by STEMbassadors Samantha Dix and Alexis Wachter

On March 8, 2022, 100 learners, including Delran students and their families, had the opportunity to participate in a Destination: Mars Family Engagement Night hosted in Delran High School’s Innovation and Fabrication Lab. This event featured Ozobots which allowed the students to engage their minds while guiding the bots through some Martian terrain. The families rotated through three different stations in two different sessions, run by Delran staff members and our very own high school student STEMbassadors! Parents who attended especially appreciated the opportunity for younger students to interact with high school STEMbassadors!

STEMbassadors Suhani, Minnah, Molly, Sam P, Alexis, Sam D, Josh, and Colin wait with Mr. Maraldo for families to arrive at the Destination: Mars Event.

Mars Scavenger Hunt

In the design section of the lab, families completed a virtual Mars Scavenger Hunt on the desktops, where they learned all about the Red Planet and how to travel there. During this scavenger hunt, the students were the explorers and they were given the mission to answer questions about Mars in order to find a secret word to help the scientists get to their final destination. You can see families working on the scavenger hunt together in the images below.


In the production section of the lab, each family was provided with materials to engage in a hands-on learning experience. Such materials included blank pieces of practice paper, a color code cheat sheet, a Mars Geography Rover Location Map Packet, color code Ozobot markers containing red, green, blue, and black, a calibration square, and an Ozobot. The families constructed paths using the black markers and the colored markers to add codes to the paths that the Ozobot traveled on. Codes could include different speeds that the Ozobot would travel, or different movements such as a zig-zag or U-turn. Students worked through challenges of trial and error to make the greatest success route for their Ozobot, such as the travel lines being too thin or the color code squares being too big. Once each family was comfortable with their process on the blank paper they moved to the Mars Geography packet that consisted of 4 different terrain challenges. The students manipulated through various creative routes leading to a certain destination, from Point A to Point B.

Click through the slides show below to see the families working on the Ozobot challenges, and the STEMbassadors helping the families navigate Mars!

Families proud of their STEM work!

Inspiring Role Model

In addition to the interactive Ozobot activity, participants also had the chance to hear from a Delran Alum. This former student is Trent Thomas, a Class of 2016 graduate from Delran High School. Trent is currently a Planetary Scientist, and received his bachelor's degree from The University of California, Los Angeles, while also working as a researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is now working on his Ph.D. in Earth and Space Science at the University of Washington in Seattle. Trent has gone on to do amazing things after his Delran High School education and is an inspiration to many students looking to go into the field of astrophysics. One parent who attended the event shared, "It’s extremely encouraging for younger kids to see former students do incredibly well especially in fields under science."

Delran families listen to Virtual Guest Speaker, Delran Alum Trent Thomas, at the Destination: Mars Family STEM Night.

Watch Trent's message to current Delran students below!

Looking Ahead…

We would like to thank all of the wonderful families for participating in this exciting STEM Engagement Night! Our ELL STEM Family Engagement Night has been rescheduled from February for March 22nd, where students will be able to learn about, design, and build lunar landers! Also, SAVE THE DATE for the 2022 Delran Stem Fair on May 16th, 5:30pm at Delran High School. We are so excited and grateful to finally be able to hold this annual event again, and display our communities STEM discoveries!

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