mBot: Mars Exploration Challenge (Gr. 6-9)

Coding a Semi-Autonomous Mars Rover


In this lesson, students create a semi-autonomous Mars Rover program for mBot, capable of navigating an obstacle-filled Mars landscape. Students discuss previous missions in space exploration such as the Mars Curiosity Rover, the Canadarm, and the International Space Station and discuss why space exploration matters. Students also use the Engineering Design Cycle to design, test, and improve their programs as they attempt to navigate across the Martian landscape to the target site!


Students will be able to understand:

- The benefits of space exploration

- Previous missions into space

- The engineering design cycle

- Loops

- Algorithms using IF-statements

- Autonomous driving using robotic sensors

Curriculum Connections Summary

  • Ontario - Mathematics - Algebra (Coding) & Science
  • Quebec - Science
  • New Brunswick - Science
  • Nova Scotia - ICT
  • Alberta - Science & ICT/CTF
  • British Columbia - Science & ADST
  • Manitoba - Science
  • Prince Edward Island - Science
  • Saskatchewan - Science
  • Newfoundland & Labrador - Science
  • Yukon Territories - Follow's B.C.'s Curriculum
  • Northwest Territories - Follows Alberta's Curriculum
  • Nunavut - Follows Alberta's Curriculum

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mbot is the best of both worlds, transitioning students from Scratch Blocks to Text Code