The University of Texas at Austin
Mission to Mars

Culminating Activity

A culminating activity for any major unit of study within the Schools for Thought model is the Consequential Task. This is an activity which can only be adequately completed as each research group makes publically known what was learned concerning its specific area. The consequential task serves many purposes, including motivation and individual accountability. We have chosen a Mission to Mars Feasibility Study as our consequential task.

To prepare for the final jigsaw group sharing activity, each specialty group summarized the most important things learned as they researched their particular area, deciding on six or seven points which would have to be considered in such an undertaking. At this point, the members of the specialty groups broke apart and jigsawed into new groups, consisting of one member from each specialty group. Each member then shared the knowledge gained from research in the specialty group with the other members in the jigsaw so that the new group had a more thorough understanding of all the factors that would be involved in a Mission to Mars. Sometimes this sharing was done orally, other times groups wrote lengthly reports to share and combine. Finally, individually, each person in the class was required to write a feasibility study as to the possibility of a Mission to Mars at the present time, given current technology.

While most of the activities of this unit were anchored in group participation, the accountability of each individual to learn from the collective findings of the group was always understood, and individual assessment was ultimately addressed in the feasibility study.
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