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Scratching the Surface -- Carving Channels
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Scratching the Surface -- Carving Channels

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Short Description: Students create channel features with flowing water. Their observations of the ways in which flowing water alters the surrounding terrain will be used as clues to draw conclusions about Mars' geologic past.

Topic: Water in the Solar System

Grade Level: 5-8

Body: Mars

Mission: M-69/521 (Mars), Mars Exploration Rover: Opportunity (Mars), Mars Express (Mars), Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) (Mars), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (Mars), Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity (Mars)

Science Education Standards:

Benchmarks

By the end of 5th grade, students should know that:

  • When liquid water disappears, it turns into a gas (vapor) in the air and can reappear as a liquid when cooled, or as a solid if cooled below the freezing point of water. Clouds and fog are made of tiny droplets or frozen crystals of water. 4B/E3*

By the end of 8th grade, students should know that:

  • Nine planets of very different size, composition, and surface features move around the sun in nearly circular orbits. Some planets have a variety of moons and even flat rings of rock and ice particles orbiting around them. Some of these planets and moons show evidence of geologic activity. The earth is orbited by one moon, many artificial satellites, and debris. 4A/M3
  • Many chunks of rock orbit the sun. Those that meet the earth glow and disintegrate from friction as they plunge through the atmosphere-and sometimes impact the ground. Other chunks of rock mixed with ice have long, off-center orbits that carry them close to the sun, where the sun's radiation (of light and particles) boils off frozen materials from their surfaces and pushes it into a long, illuminated tail. 4A/M4*
  • The earth is mostly rock. Three-fourths of the earth's surface is covered by a relatively thin layer of water (some of it frozen), and the entire planet is surrounded by a relatively thin layer of air. 4B/M2ab*

By the end of 12th grade, students should know that:

  • Life is adapted to conditions on the earth, including the force of gravity that enables the planet to retain an adequate atmosphere, and an intensity of electromagnetic waves from the sun that allows water to be present in the liquid state. 4B/H1*

National Science Education Standards

PROPERTIES OF EARTH MATERIALS
Earth materials are solid rocks and soils, water, and the gases of the atmosphere. The varied materials have different physical and chemical properties, which make them useful in different ways, for example, as building materials, as sources of fuel, or for growing the plants we use as food. Earth materials provide many of the resources that humans use.

Grades 5-8
EARTH IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM:
The earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets.

STRUCTURE OF THE EARTH SYSTEM
Water, which covers the majority of the earth's surface, circulates through the crust, oceans, and atmosphere in what is known as the "water cycle." Water evaporates from the earth's surface, rises and cools as it moves to higher elevations, condenses as rain or snow, and falls to the surface where it collects in lakes, oceans, soil, and in rocks underground.

Water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans.

Source: Lunar and Planetary Institute


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Last Updated: 1 Jul 2014