Field Trip 3 – McWane Science Center: Robotics & Mars Mission

Challenger logoI’ve got eight words for you: programming a robot and a voyage to Mars.

That’s right, it sounds totally awesome.  And, it was.

Well, it looked awesome; I didn’t really get to participate.  Sad face.  But happy face for Babydoll, it was such a cool experience!

A homeschool mom organized two days worth of field trips; the first was to McWane Science Center for a robotics program and voyage to Mars.

Robotics Challenge


Our first stop was the robotics program.  After a brief introduction, the kids placed themselves into groups of about three and commenced with programming a LEGO robot.

I could tell by the look on Babydoll’s face that she was scared at first.  When the woman announced they’d be programming robots, the terror washed over her:  “I don’t know how to program a stinkin’ robot!”  But the woman did a great job of explaining everything in an entertaining and concise manner.

Babydoll was teamed up with a couple of other girls around her age and they worked together nicely.  Back and forth they went, hooking the robot up to the computer, programming it to do one thing, disconnecting it, testing it, reconnecting it, fixing the program, and rinse and repeat.

Their objective was to get the robot through a maze.  The program taught them so many things such as the importance of guessing and testing, working through something in a systematic manner, and robot programming {a very important skill}.

None of the teams got their robot through the entire maze by the time we had to head out, but they all did a great job.

Voyage to Mars


After a thirty minute break to check out the museum, we headed into the Challenger Learning Center to learn about the upcoming voyage to Mars.

A couple of days prior to the field trip we were given a list of the teams for the project and each child was able to pick their top three choices.  Babydoll ended up on her second choice team {Remote}, which turned out to be something related to geology, so she was excited.

They were given their badges, boarded the “spaceship” for their transport to the Mars Transport Vehicle, and got to work.

It was then time to teleport to mission control and experience that same team on the “other side.”

This was a great field trip; Babydoll loved it! If you have a Challenger center near you, I highly recommend checking out the programs they offer.

I’m linking up to my bloggy friend Anna-Marie’s field trip hop.  Be sure to check it out for great field trip ideas.