The narrative


In a galaxy far away, there is a topographically featureless planet called Hydrus. Hydrus is similar in size to the Earth, but it is inhabited by only 100,000 Hydrusians. Hydrus is perfectly spherical and covered everywhere by a layer of fresh water 20 meters deep. Hydrusians live underwater and rarely see each other because they have great difficulty finding each other on their featureless planet.

Both teacher and the students are from Hydrus. Today, you have something very exiting to report - you've found wreckage from Granny's long lost trunk from her visit to planet Earth! Over a lifetime exploring the universe, Granny had seen many worlds, but Earth was rumored to be her favorite, brimmming with exotic landscapes and somewhat civilized inhabitants. But before she could show and tell all, she met her demise involving technical difficulties with a transporter. So all she'd known had been lost in time.

Until you stumbled upon her trunk from Earth!

Mystery in Granny's trunk

Scattered around the trunk you find artifacts from Earth, and several scrolls

Scattered around the trunk:
  1. Several souvenirs from Earth - crystals, photo, plant, food product
  2. Granny's last journal entry
  3. Objects and artifacts from each of 20 places Granny had visited, including 1) a rock, 2) photos and maps, and 3) gifts from the local humans.
  4. An unfinished map of the places she visited with a puzzle
  5. A note to Granny from the Earthlings
  6. Sample brochures
In the locked trunk:
  1. Clues to her favorite locations

Making plans to go to Earth

You and your class decide to follow in Granny's footsteps and visit her favorite locales. But first you must figure out the locations based on three clues.

The three clues -

  1. Rock - information about tectonic setting
  2. Map and photos - information about latitude and elevation
  3. Cultural artifact - information about climate and continent

You guess about the location and then check with Granny's puzzle.

The trip

The Earthlings welcome you to their planet, but they have a condition. They explain in a letter to Granny.

The challenge is to make a brochure that appeals to ecotourists from Hydrus.

You and your class decide on a strategy and coproduce the rubric.

Since the Earthlings need water, each brochure carries an information statement about the water needs of each location.

Two different groups evaluate your brochure - the Earthlings and a focus group of your peers.

Observe & Discuss:

Discussion point 1

  • Is space travel dangerous?

  • What other jobs are dangerous?

  • Pros and cons of focus groups and crowdsourcing?

  • Recognizing the needs of others while providing creative value

  • Is ecotourism always a good thing?