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Strange New Planet

Strange New Planet

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Short Description: This activity demonstrates how planetary features are discovered through a sequence of observations, from naked eye, to telescopic, to fly-by, orbiting, and sample missions. Students make multi-sensory observations, gather data and simulate spacecraft missions.

Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools, Far Ranging Robots

Grade Level: 5-8

Body: Mars

Mission: Mariner 4 (Mars), Mariner 6 (Mars), Mariner 7 (Mars), Mariner 9 (Mars), Mars Global Surveyor (Mars), Mars Pathfinder/Sojourner (Mars), Viking 1 (Mars), Viking 2 (Mars)

Science Education Standards:


Grades 5-8
By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that:
  • Telescopes magnify the appearance of some distant objects in the sky, including the Moon and the planets. The number of stars that can be seen through telescopes is dramatically greater than can be seen by the unaided eye. 4A/E2

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: Displacing the Earth from the Center of the Universe
By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that:

  • Telescopes reveal that there are many more stars in the night sky than are evident to the unaided eye, the surface of the Moon has many craters and mountains, the Sun has dark spots, and Jupiter and some other planets have their own moons. 10A/M2

National Science Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Many different people in different cultures have made and continue to make contributions to science and technology. Science and technology are reciprocal. Science helps drive technology, as it addresses questions that demand more sophisticated instruments and provides principles for better instrumentation and technique. Technology is essential to science, because it provides instruments and techniques that enable observations of objects and phenomena that are otherwise unobservable due to factors such as quantity, distance, location, size, and speed. Technology also provides tools for investigations, inquiry and analysis.

Science and technology have advanced through contributions of many different people, in different cultures, at different times in history. Science and technology have contributed enormously to economic growth and productivity among societies and groups within societies.

Source: ASU Mars K-12 Education Program

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Last Updated: 12 Mar 2014