Surviving Mars using maths

In a ‘real life’ scenario, students from Years 7 and 8 attempt to save an astronaut stranded on Mars.

Using maths, especially algebra, students must describe and solve immediate problems of life support and longer term issues with attempts to get the astronaut off the planet.

School based lessons prepare the students for their day at VSSEC. At VSSEC the students complete missions as team members in both Technical Support and Mission Control, swapping roles halfway through the day.

Toyota’s grant will enable development and testing of Mission Control software.

During 2019, secondary schools from Melbourne’s west will be invited to test the module. Multiple classes from two to three schools per term will participate.

In 2020, the fully tested module will become part of VSSEC’s suite of STEM programs, available to all Victorian schools.

This project addresses the need to help students develop mathematical thinking and problem solving skills using ‘real life’ situations.

  • Years 7 & 8
  • 300 students
  • 8+ schools


The Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC) is a specialist STEM learning facility established by the Victorian State Government in 2006. It uses the context of space to engage teachers and students in STEM teaching and learning.