School-based awards

Five educators conducted special classroom-based activities as part of their participation in the Going to Mars student art contest. MAVEN gives special recognition to these educators, whose creativity and passion led them to go above and beyond on behalf of their students, scanning and uploading entries and “getting out the vote.” These educators’ ability to inspire their students really shows!

Below are the highest-ranked student art submissions from each of the educators who entered our contest; the exception is the entry shown under Hafiz; the entry shown is the highest-ranking submission from Hafiz after Second Place. These are shown in order of highest number of uploads.

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

Educator: Hafiz; Education Coordinator
Artist: Ragavan
Grade level: 6
From: Tamil Nadu, India

About: Hafiz took the initiative to voluntarily coordinate contest entries from schools in Tamil Nadu, with a special focus on underprivileged children—some of whom attend school with the help of philanthropic donations. Hafiz worked with two Indian corporations to gather support and supplies for the artwork. He uploaded 160 entries from 16 schools, including the artwork that won Second Place and Principal Investigator’s Choice. Ragavan’s entry was the next-highest-voted entry from Hafiz’s uploads, after the Second Place entry. Hafiz said, “I always think of bringing about some change in people’s lives. If I can create a spark in their thinking process, why not? Here was an opportunity to take kids to a different world of planets and galaxies beyond. Some of the kids did so much research, that they have found planets and the universe to be extremely exciting and want to study more on these subjects.”

Educator: Ben
Artist: Christopher
Grade level: 5
From: Massachusetts, USA

About: Ben uploaded 42 entries on behalf of students in his 5th grade Electives class. In his words, “I was looking to create a one-period lesson plan that would allow my students to practice using foreground, middle ground, and background in their drawings. I also wanted to create something that connected with what our students were learning in Science class. At the time, they had just finished learning about our solar system. Entering the MAVEN contest seemed like a great opportunity for students to practice their new skills from art while applying their knowledge from science. I think the most exciting aspect of the project was the feeling that the contest was a bridge between the classroom and the world of professional science. These sorts of opportunities help students see the “big picture” about what they’re learning. And of course, it was pretty powerful to think that the sheets of paper on which students were drawing could end up orbiting another planet.”

Educator: Mêncio, Elementary teacher for science laboratory classes
Artist: Raquel
Grade level: 3
From: São Paulo, Brazil

About: Mêncio uploaded 34 entries from his science laboratory classes; his students are familiar with space topics through their participation in the Brazilian Olympics for Astronomy, Astronautics and Energy. In his words, “Space ship travels inspire everybody that has an adventure spirit. I always tell them stories about the Apollo mission and they say: I am going to be an astronaut in the future.”

Educator: Karen
Artist: Lily
Grade level: 4
From: Alabama, USA

About: Karen uploaded 14 entries from her fourth grade class; she found out about the contest while preparing a unit on the solar system. She said, “I was wanting to show them plenty of past, current, and future examples of space probes (one of their vocabulary words) to help them understand how we gather the information that we have. Somewhere in the search of all those websites I ended up on the site describing MAVEN and its mission. I also noticed the art contest which had just a few days left. I started out as an art major and always love to incorporate art into the classroom whenever possible. The students always get so excited at the chance to be creative as well, and it sometimes provides certain students the chance to shine that may not get very often. I believe the students were most excited about having the chance to have their own creation actually sent out into space. They just couldn’t get over how “cool” that would be. Studying space always seems to bring out their excitement to begin with too. I was just excited to see them so eager to learn about Mars and the mission in order to create the best design. They are all looking forward to hearing about its launch later this year because they now have a connection with it.”

Educator: Deirdre
Artist: Sorocha (Sarah)
Grade level: 6
From: Kerry, Ireland

About: Deirdre teaches grades 5-6 in her classroom, and decided to have her ten 6th graders participate. She said, “We were inspired to participate after looking at the website. The most exciting part for the children was scanning their work and knowing it could possibly go to outer space!!!”

Educator: Jill
Artist: Team effort (First Place)
Grade level: Kindergarten Enrichment class
From: Colorado, USA

About: Jill uploaded one entry into the contest—a single photograph showing the efforts of her entire Kindergarten Enrichment class. She designed a classroom activity around the MAVEN mission, teaching her students about Mars and asking her students to think about what they would want to bring with them if they were to journey to the Red Planet with MAVEN. Jill used the Reggio-Emilia pedagogical philosophy as her foundation and an idea from the poem, “The Hundred Languages of Children,” as her inspiration: science and imagination belong together. Read more about the model Mars planets that Jill’s students created.