Teacher Newsletter | Pensacola MESS Hall

Teacher Newsletter

To enrich your student’s science experience, the Pensacola MESS Hall has a lot to offer. From open exploration or in-depth themed field trips to classroom workshops and science shows, there is a lot to know! That’s why, once a month, we’ll send you our Teacher Newsletter to keep you updated on our programming. Learn about booking field trips, get details about a featured program, and let us tell you about hot topics in science news and hands-on activities for you to share with your students.

If you have any questions or comments, the best way to contact us is at groups@pensacolamesshall.org. Tell us what you’re looking for to supplement your students’ science education.
Click here for a list of all School Programming.

March Teacher Newsletter

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Things to Know | Featured ProgramScience News | Classroom Activity | Learn More

Things to Know

  • Spring Break is close! The MESS Hall will be open, and there are day camps for grades 1-7. Join us for our popular science sampler camp.
  • Gulf Coast Science Festival is March 30, 2019 in Seville Square.
  • Summer Camp Registration is open for everyone. New for this year is Lab Ratz, where kids take the lead to explore their curiosity about math, engineering, science, and stuff.
  • Plan ahead for the 2019-2020 school year by requesting field trip dates.
  • We have a great outreach program! Can’t come to us? We will bring a science show and stations to you! Here’s just one of the shows we have available for your school.
    How to Measure a Song-Inch your way along with the MESS Hall performers as they engage students with an interactive show about the seemingly weighty subject of measurement. Hands on stations turn up the volume, and time will fly by as students analyze multiple ways of measuring.

Featured Program

Summer Outreach
Mission: The Universe

Go on a space trip to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing! Explore the tools needed to discover the wonders of the universe in this NASA funded experience including an interactive science show and hands on stations.

Program is 1.5 hours total and includes a 30 minute interactive presentation followed by 1 hour of hands on stations for up to 50 people. If you have a larger group, we can schedule an additional hour of exploration for an addition group.

Fee: $250 for up to 50 children; $75 for each additional hour of hands on exploration for up to 50 children.

Travel Fee: For outreach programs outside of Escambia and Santa Rosa County a travel fee of $0.65 / mile will be added.

Want to book more than one show? Contact us at Groups@pensacolamesshall.org for additional offerings.

Science News Brief

NASA’s Opportunity Mars Rover Ends Its Mission

One of the most successful and enduring feats of interplanetary exploration, NASA’s Opportunity rover mission is at an end after almost 15 years exploring the surface of Mars and helping lay the groundwork for NASA’s return to the Red Planet.

The rover, which landed in 2004, surpassed the mission goals and exceeded its life expectancy by 60 times. The rover traveled more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) by the time it reached its final resting spot on Mars – Perseverance Valley.

“For more than a decade, Opportunity has been an icon in the field of planetary exploration, teaching us about Mars’ ancient past as a wet, potentially habitable planet, and revealing uncharted Martian landscapes,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “Whatever loss we feel now must be tempered with the knowledge that the legacy of Opportunity continues – both on the surface of Mars with the Curiosity rover and InSight lander – and in the clean rooms of JPL, where the upcoming Mars 2020 rover is taking shape.”

Opportunity Achievements

  • Set a one-day Mars driving record March 20, 2005, when it traveled 721 feet (220 meters).
  • Returned more than 217,000 images, including 15 360-degree color panoramas.
  • Exposed the surfaces of 52 rocks to reveal fresh mineral surfaces for analysis and cleared 72 additional targets with a brush to prepare them for inspection with spectrometers and a microscopic imager.
  • Found hematite, a mineral that forms in water, at its landing site.
  • Discovered strong indications at Endeavour Crater of the action of ancient water similar to the drinkable water of a pond or lake on Earth.

Exploration of the planet Mars continues with NASA’s newly landed InSight lander. The Curiosity rover has been exploring Gale Crater for more than six years. And, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover and the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover both will launch in July 2020, becoming the first rover missions designed to seek signs of past microbial life on the Red Planet.

Classroom Science Activity

Design a Grabber or Robotic Arm  


  • Paperboard (cereal box thickness) or cardboard rectangles 1” x 4”
  • Brass fasteners
  • Chenille stems
  • Pencils
  • Scissors
  • Various other materials


  1. Take 2 strips of cardboard.
  2. Punch holes with a sharpened pencil at each end and in the center.
  3. Link the strips with a brass fastener through the center holes.
  4. Repeat these steps with 2 new strings of cardboard. You should have two Xs.
  5. Link the ends of the Xs together to make a double X.
  6. Holding one of the unlinked ends, open and close one X. You should have the beginning of a reaching robotic arm.
  7. Add chenille stems or other materials at the end to make a functional grabber.

Mess Around

Try moving the fasteners to different holes or adding other cardboard strips.

Try adding eyes or teeth with a marker or construction paper decorations to make your creation become something different than a robotic arm.

What’s Going On?

A linkage is a mechanism formed by connecting two or more levers together.  Linkages can be designed to change the direction of a force in robotics or make two or more object move at the same time.

More Information

Click here for more information on our Classroom Programs. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook to get the best updates on our upcoming programs and events, both for your classroom and your family.

If you are not already, be sure you are signed up for our monthly Teacher Newsletter to stay up-to-date on what the MESS Hall has to offer, and to receive the science news and activities we share with you!

As always, feel free to email any questions about program details or booking to groups@pensacolamesshall.org.