Microsoft, in conjunction with NASA and the California Institute of Technology, recently released a detailed lesson plan (link opens a PDF) about Mars exploration. The lesson plan is designed for middle school students utilizing the new Mars Rover worlds in Kodu.
In Search and Explore Mars students explore Mars for rocks and minerals. The lesson plan asks students to evaluate and analyze their findings. For example, students need to identify sedimentary and igneous rocks on Mars. In all there are 23 terms that students should become familiar with through the lesson.
Applications for Education
I gave the Kodu Mars worlds a test drive this afternoon. I’m not a skilled video game player by any stretch of the imagination, but I can see how middle school students would get hooked on playing the game to find and analyze rocks and minerals on Mars. I played the game on my Lenovo ThinkCentre and had a little trouble with the controls (again, that might be partly due to my inexperience with video games). In the lesson plan they do mention that a wired Xbox 360 controller is helpful.