Lesson 1: Mars Rover

Pupils research and calculate the distance from Earth to Mars, using familiar objects, to help them visualise the journey that information has to travel to be sent and received.

Before the lesson

Download classroom resources

Learning objective

  • To identify how and why data is collected from space

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world-wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration
  • Use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: During the activity, discuss with children what information the Mars Rover might send back. Reinforce that it has to actually send the data. The huge distance makes this a tricky task.


Pupils working at greater depth: Could research the cost of the Curiosity mission and relate it to the value of another random item. This helps to reinforce the financial value of the data sent back from the Mars Rover.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding


Created by:
Richard Williams,  
Computing specialist
Richard is a Year 6 Teacher at St. Pancras Primary School. Richard’s passion for teaching was recognised when he received Suffolk’s ‘Raising The Bar’ award for Innovation 2016. With his class he made the world’s first guided VR:360 school tour…
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