Life, the University and Everything (LUE) is a Big History inspired subject taught at The Glennie School, with Year 9 students engaging in multidisciplinary learning on a universal scale. Focussing on History, Literacy and Science during lessons, students explore the Big Bang Theory, creating elements, the solar system and planets to establish conditions necessary for life.
Last week, the LUE students and teachers welcomed geophysicist Dr Chris McKay from NASA Ames Research Centre (California) into their classroom via video conference. Dr McKay is an advocate for the prospect of colonising Mars and provided our Glennie girls with a compelling case on how this would be possible.
Before the video conference, students viewed the movie The Martian which depicts an astronaut's lone struggle to survive on Mars after being left behind and the efforts of NASA to rescue him and bring him home to Earth.
In Term 2, astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker from Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra, will provide students with the flip side and provide reasons why we may not be ready to go to Mars.
Students will gather facts, ask the big questions, and test the claims made by Dr McKay and Dr Tucker and make an informed decision to complete their persuasive writing assessment.
'This international classroom experience opens our students' eyes to the infinite potential they have to explore our world history and be inspiring thought leaders', said Mrs Nicolette Wheaton, Glennie Middle and Senior Years teacher.
Mrs Tracey Kessels
Development Officer - Marketing
Our students share their thoughts on the experience:
We spoke to a NASA scientist and AstroGeoPhysicist, Dr Chris McKay, in our Life, the Universe and Everything lesson. In our discussions, we were able to ask if humans would survive on Mars, what the air pressure and the atmosphere is like and inquiries about the exploration and colonisation of Mars. Dr McKay spoke a little bit about his background and he said to seize opportunities when they arise. He is particularly interested to see if there were any life forms on Mars, especially if there are any that aren’t related to life forms on Earth. He said that he has studied in many parts of the world such as Antarctica because it was the closest environment to Mars found on Earth. I found this video conference extremely fascinating because he spoke with such wisdom. He also told us that if we were to eventually live on Mars, we would have to increase the pressure by creating more carbon dioxide in the air. This is known as terraforming. Dr McKay is currently working from home because the NASA agency is still in lockdown due to COVID_19. His work is amazing and we are extremely grateful and privileged that we were able to talk to a NASA scientist!
Year 9 student