Set Date: 8/23/2012                                            Due Date: 9/21/2012

To students and parents: 

   Students of Global Issues Science Solutions have two projects. The first project consists of two parts – a report (not to exceed 4 pages including title page) and a rover that can travel along the ground under its own power. Any design that meets the specified criteria is acceptable and originality is preferred. 

   We will be discussing unmanned space exploration, viewing NASA and International Space Station content and building rovers together in class during the first month of this elective course. In addition we will explore the novel use of remote controlled and robotic vehicles in disarming land mines in various parts of the world. Students will build both battery and solar powered rovers at school and then test them on different terrain inside and outside of the classroom. Students will then apply what they have learned at school to design and build a rover of their own which they will bring to class and demonstrate.

   The model may be as simple as a well designed and decorated rubber band powered vehicle. Some students will build solar, steam, battery, balloon, carbon dioxide, propeller, bottle rocket, gravity, or air pressure driven craft and others intend to construct R/C or motor models. The latter is not necessary to achieve an A grade on this assignment and extra credit will not be assessed for expensive or store-bought material. Kits that are store-bought and student assembled are not acceptable for this assignment although kit components (such as axles, motor and gear) may certainly be used as long as they form part of a unique student design. Gasoline or nitrous oxide powered models are NOT allowed. 

   Students should start early and have fun. Projects contribute substantially to student grades. Rovers will be driven and displayed at project night. Projects allow students to learn real math, measurement and engineering skills in ways that are impossible from merely reading a textbook. They also provide a unique opportunity for parents, grandparents and other family members to contribute and be involved in their child’s education. So that students fully understand grading criteria, they are provided below.

Rubric of Assessment for Planetary Rover Project


   •  Rover is mission worthy – it travels 5 meters or more. 

   •  Rover is carefully decorated.

   •  Rover is original. 

   •  Report contains an accurate diagram or design of the rover drawn to scale with a ruler and clearly labeled (one page).

     Journal is included. Key decisions and discoveries are discussed including what problems where encountered and how they were solved in designing and building the rover. 

     Inventory is included that lists and costs all components used in the rover. Total cost is calculated.

   •  Weight of the rover is given in both metric and customary units. 

   •  Self-assessment is included which summarizes what was learned, honestly discusses the deficiencies and strengths of the project (rover and report) and grades the assignment.

   •  Resources and bibliography. People, books, websites etc are acknowledged.


   •  Rover travels 2 meters or more. 

   •  Rover shows some originality. 

   •  Diagram or design of the rover is included but is either not drawn to scale with a ruler or not clearly labeled.

     Journal is included but lacks pertinent information.

     Inventory is incomplete. 

   •  Self-assessment lacks one or more components.

   •  Sources are not fully acknowledged.


   •  Rover travels less than 2 meters. 

   •  Rover is a kit or poor copy of a commercially available design. 

   •  Diagram or design of the rover is either not included or poorly drawn and labeled.

     Journal is included but lacks several components.

     Inventory is incomplete or missing. 

   •  Self-assessment is included but is substantially incomplete or inaccurate.

   •  Sources are not adequately acknowledged.


   •  Rover exists but does not move under its own power. 

   •  Rover was bought from the store or made in less than 30 minutes. 

   •  Diagram or design of the rover is not included.

     Journal is substantially deficient.

     Inventory is missing. 

   •  Self-assessment is included but is substantially incomplete or inaccurate.

   •  Sources are not acknowledged.


   •  No serious attempt to build a rover was made. 

   •  No diagram or designs of the rover exist.

   •  Self-assessment is missing.

   •  Sources are not acknowledged.

© Sean Wilmot 2012