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Student art contest timeline

March 15
Contest opens
April 8
Contest closes
April 16
Public voting begins
May 6
Public voting ends
May 20
Contest winner announced!

Send your name & message to Mars activity timeline

May 1
Activity opens
July 1
Message activity closes
July 15
Public voting begins on messages
July 29
Public voting ends on messages
August 8
Message contest winner announced!
September 10
Name activity closes

November 18
MAVEN launch period opens

Educator recognition

Nearly thirty educators conducted special classroom-based activities as part of their participation in the Going to Mars haiku contest. MAVEN gives special recognition to these educators and thanks them for participating!

Below are select student haiku submitted by our educators. Participating educators selected one haiku for special recognition from each class that participated. All of the haiku shown below will be included on the DVD and flown to Mars.

We use only first names of educators and students to protect the privacy of our participants.


Educator: Alexis
From: Maine, USA
Haiku entered: 11
So mysterious.
The great red planet is still.
Why would it be there?
Author: Basil
Grade level: 6

“During the last week of 6th grade this year, I did a little haiku lesson with some of my classes. We looked at some haikus that I have written, and talked about what they had in common, to lead into a lesson about haikus. We kept it pretty simple, focusing on the format, and touching upon some of the history of haikus, in that they are often about nature. We also looked at the MAVEN site to find out more about Mars and the mission, and the students got so excited about getting to try and send haikus to Mars. For fun and inspiration, we also watched Comm. Chris Hadfield’s “Space Oddity” video.
For some reason, this prompted some students to ask about how one goes to the bathroom in space. We also watched a little video about that as well. At the end of each class, we had a quick little awards ceremony where I formally handed the certificates to the students who submitted haikus on the Maven site.”
— Alexis


Educator: Elyse
From: Pennsylvania, USA
Haiku entered: 17
Asteroids hit Mars
It has two moons big and small
Some small atmosphere
Author: Maci
Grade level: 2

“I had a whole unit about Mars as soon as I saw the information about the contest and how the winning Haiku would be on the Mars Maven. My class was so psyched. I was teaching about the moon, and I worked right into Mars. I pulled up videos on the Red Planet and we became experts on Mars. After I inundated my class with Mars facts, we went right into writing about Mars. First we did an informational paper and then we did the Haiku. I sent all their work to the NASA address. I told them that a part of them was going to be on the Maven and that they were part of history.”
— Elyse


Educator: Kendra
From: Utah, USA
Haiku entered: 23
MAVEN flys to space
He’ll study Mars’ atmosphere
Mars Mars Mars is fun
Author: Belen
Grade level: 2

“To learn about space and Mars, the students watched a number of Col. Chris Hadfield’s videos. (They especially enjoyed the water experiment and his Space Oddity performance). We also explored NASA’s website about Mars and MAVEN. To prepare to write a haiku, I showed them the structure of the haiku (we had written various poems throughout the year). We also looked at other author’s haikus, some serious and some joke haikus. The students each wrote 6 haikus about Mars, Space, or MAVEN and then chose their favorite one to edit and finalize. One student went from telling me that haikus were “boring” to writing extra ones and declaring haikus as his favorite form of poetry.”
— Kendra


Educator: Natalie
From: Queensland, Australia
Haiku entered: 18
Mysterious life
extraordinary planet
wonder what they’ll find
Author: Phoenix
Grade level: 3

“I was looking to provide my students with a way to explore poetry and how this can be used as a format to express oneself. I wanted my students to become more creative with word play, imagery and vocabulary building. I had decided to use haiku as it is perfect for what I was looking to achieve – it’s short, does not need to rhyme, and lends itself to any topic. As we had just finished a space science unit, I had decided that space would be the topic for our haiku, as it would allow the students to create something connected to their current studies and would provide them with an opportunity to demonstrate their newly learned knowledge. It was while I was searching the internet for some example haiku that I came across the Going to Mars with MAVEN contest. When I shared this with the class – that there was an opportunity for them to write some haiku, enter it in a competition that would allow them to be a part of history – having their names go on MAVEN to Mars as well as the possibility of their haiku message – the class was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. The children quickly embraced the opportunity and I believe having this real world purpose to their writing made it an even more worthwhile learning experience. They couldn’t believe they could be a part of a project being run by the University of Colorado and NASA! They felt very special and privileged to be given this opportunity. As we only had a couple of days before we were going on break for our winter holidays and the close of the competition, the children jumped at any chance to practice writing their haiku. Many of them even spent their lunch hours writing and drafting haiku rather than playing as they wanted to create the ‘perfect’ message to go with MAVEN to Mars. They had a fantastic time sharing their many haiku with each other and trying to narrow down their options to the one they wanted submitted. It was fantastic to see them supporting and encouraging each other with feedback about their poems during the drafting and redrafting process. They all felt they were successful writers and couldn’t wait to see their haiku on the web. We are also very excited and can’t wait for MAVEN to launch and make its way to Mars. We will be waiting and watching in anticipation, of MAVEN’s launch later in the year, especially now as we have a unique connection to this project. Thank you for the opportunity to be involved.”
— Natalie


Educator: Nici
From: Texas, USA
Haiku entered: 11
Mars is dark and dull
Because of the rust it holds
That is why it’s red
Author: Jacey
Grade level: 7

“The haiku activity was chosen as part of our district’s science summer camp for grades 6-8 that was funded by NASA’s Summer of Innovation program. The theme of our camp was “Mission to Mars.” The haiku activity fit perfectly with our Mars bound theme. My student’s were excited to know they had the chance to send something they created to Mars. Although we did many fun activities throughout our week long camp, their certificate of participation in the MAVEN contest was the first thing most of my students showed their parents during our open house. I was thrilled this opportunity was available to them as part of our camp.”
— Nici


Educator: Roz
From: Queensland, Australia
Haiku entered: 24
A dusty planet
Red, brown and yellow colours
Floating and spinning
Author: Hannah
Grade level: 3

“As I am in the library I teach a range of subjects with the main focus on information/research skills and literature. The Haiku activity was part of a POETRY and SPACE unit with a Year 3 class.”
— Roz


Educator: David
From: Ramallah & al-Bireh, Palestine
Haiku entered: 43
This is a riddle
What do you call a space nut?
An astronut, ha!
Author: Anonymous
Grade level: 4
Hello aliens,
We are people living here
Maven is our ship
Author: Anonymous
Grade level: 4

“During the 2012-13 school year, I taught 4th grade English and English Science. At the elementary grades, all classes other than English and English Science are taught in Arabic. The MAVEN haiku contest fit perfectly into our 4th grade English and Science curricula which called for studying poetry and the solar system. Every student completed multiple drafts of their haiku and many students read their haikus in front of the school during a presentation about the MAVEN contest.”
— David


Educator: Michelle
From: New South Wales, Australia
Haiku entered: 50
A journey to Mars:
Volcanoes, marsquakes, craters.
A great place in space
Author: Matilda
Grade level: 5
Is there life on Mars?
If there is, please visit us
Someday on Earth please.
Author: Chloe
Grade level: 5
The bright red planet
Next to the Asteroid Belt
Mars rocky and small
Author: Lachlan
Grade level: 5

“A unit on the Solar System was the special focus for Year 5 (10 year olds) last term. The MAVEN mission fitted perfectly with our theme, and the children are excited to be ‘traveling to Mars’. (We will wave from the upper atmosphere to our Year 6 students, who are at present ‘on’ the CURIOSITY on the surface of Mars.) Not only are we linked to people from around the world, we are linked to another planet in the Solar System! Who knows when one of us may go there in person? We enjoyed writing the haiku – using a mixture of factual information and creative thinking.”
— Michelle


Educator: Rebecca
From: Indiana, USA
Haiku entered: 15
Jerry Ross’s Dream
Red Planet and Unknown Thrills
Space Bound Destiny
Author: Mikayla
Grade level: 4
The vast Universe
We search for life and water
Will Maven find much?
Author: Ryan
Grade level: 4
Space is full of stars.
It is forever going.
New frontiers await.
Author: Sarah
Grade level: 4

“I teach at Jerry Ross Elementary School. The school is named after Colonel Jerry Ross, NASA’s record-setting frequent flyer with seven Shuttle launches into space and nine space walks. Colonel Ross regularly visits the school and interacts with students on a personal level. The Maven Going To Mars haiku contest provided a perfect opportunity for students to write meaningful poetry because of their close connection to an astronaut. Earlier this year, when he visited the school, he told our students that one day he believes that humans will walk on Mars. He even remarked that he once thought that he would have a chance to go there, but now it looks like that a manned Mars Mission would be unlikely in his lifetime. He told our students that he would, without hesitation, come out of retirement if the opportunity to go on a Mars’ Mission presented itself. Jerry Ross Elementary School Students were inspired by his speech to compose and send their thoughts and ideas in the form of Haiku messages to the red planet. Jerry Ross talks to the students about pursuing their dreams and working hard, and he believes they all possess special talents and unique capabilities. He told our students, “Each of you has a chance to change mankind.”
— Rebecca


Educator: Sebastian
From: Tamil Nadu, India
Haiku entered: 42
Sail to salute mars
To find a glorious view
and to explore it!
Author: Sentimenla
Grade level: 9
When blue dot erased
then people seek you dear mars
you make us alive
Author: Stefino
Grade level: 11
MAVEN- March to Mars
to explore and Expose it
our people need you
Author: Godwin
Grade level: Grad student

“We conducted a Half day seminar on Mars and Maven mission, all our school students participated in it. We are planning to organize a half day special program to issue the certificates of participation and to make and to give awareness about Maven mission to other school and college students.”
— Sebastian


Educator: Dillon
From: Colorado, USA
Haiku entered: 68
Phobos and Deimos
Moons orbiting around mars
Snared by gravity
Author: Janis
Grade level: 8
Water and red dust
Your small red rocky body
Only made of rust
Author: Anonymous
Grade level: 8
Land of the unknown
Discoveries to be made
Soon we will explore
Author: Anonymous
Grade level: 8
Dust storms engulf red
Once thought to be just like earth
But how could this be?
Author: Anonymous
Grade level: 8

“The students spent two days researching and building background knowledge of Mars using a multitude of electronic and paper resources. With this knowledge they constructed their haikus, submitted them to MAVEN and displayed them in the classroom. Additionally, students spent time discussing the feasibility of humans going to Mars and living there. The whole unit concluded in building and launching chemical rockets.”
— Dillon


Educator: Tina
From: California, USA
Haiku entered: 16
Flown by the MAVEN
joining the Mars Hall of Fame
will soon be my name
Author: Justin
Age: 12
Hey there, small planet!
Little red planet, a child
Of God and of space
Author: Anne
Age: 12
Rock of space debris,
Of light and dark, cold and hot,
The small planet, Mars.
Author: Brian
Age: 11
Red planet above
We are coming to see you
Find and discover
Author: Ethan
Age: 11
Mars the planet red,
You are dead, people have said.
Be yellow instead.
Author: Ethan
Age: 9
This is the red Mars
Made of oxidized iron
Bye-bye atmosphere
Author: Ethan
Age: 12
So very far off,
Yet so close, we say hello
down this distant path
Author: Jerry
Age: 15
Mars, a red planet,
The 4th planet from the sun.
Martians don’t exist.
Author: Kaitlyn
Age: 9
The Red Planet Mars
Are you listening right now?
This is planet Earth
Author: Kristen
Age: 9
Mars is red right?
What a reddish, reddish ball
some, some, some planet.
Author: Matthew
Age: 8
Red colored planet
A never ending cycle
Of discovery
Author: Michelle
Age: 13
Beware, lifeless land
The blue planet is coming
To you, red planet
Author: Serena
Age: 8
Red cars fly on Mars.
Martians drink strawberry slush,
while they drive their cars.
Author: Serena
Age: 9
Watch out! Here I come!
Zoom, Zoom! I’m on the planet
Forever with you
Author: Vera
Age: 9
Hello, red planet
Space shuttles are on the way
To find living things
Author: Victor
Age: 11

“I teach writing to students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade and focus on helping students express their ideas through the written word. Spring is poetry season for my students, so the MAVEN haiku contest was a perfect fit for our curriculum and aligned with the California State Standards.”
— Tina