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The Red Planet
Mars is a cold desert world. It is half the diameter of Earth and has the same amount of dry land. Like Earth, Mars has seasons, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons and weather, but its atmosphere is too thin for liquid water to exist for long on the surface. There are signs of ancient floods on Mars, but evidence for water now exists mainly in icy soil and thin clouds.

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  Explore Mars in 3D Videos Activities

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Cake Batter Lava
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: To understand some of the geological processes and the structures that form as lava flows across planetary landscapes by using cake batter as an analog for lava.


Desert RATS
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars, Earth's Moon

Short Description: Students research and present an exploration mission timeline proposal that utilizes the scientific process to meet science objectives and mission parameters for the field site. The goal is for students to create a 3-day mission timeline of activities for exploration.


Goldilocks and the Three Planets
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: Akatsuki (Venus), MAVEN (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Students determine what some of Earth, Venus and Mars' atmosphere is composed of and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas, CO2, on the planets Venus, Earth and Mars in order to determine which has the most.


Inside Mars -- Puzzling Patterns -- Where Does Volcanism Occur?
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: Students compare volcano maps of Earth and Mars and identify patterns, similarities and differences.


Is There Water on Mars?
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Express (Mars), Mars Global Surveyor (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: Is there liquid water on Mars? By experimenting with water as it changes state and investigating some effects of air pressure, students not only learn core ideas in physical science but can deduce the water situation on Mars by applying those concepts.


Let's Investigate Mars
Grade Level: 3-5
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Human Spaceflight (Earth), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Mars Sample Return (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: This lesson will help your students answer the question: What do I need to know about Mars in order to live there in the future?


Making and Mapping a Volcano
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: After each of a series of vinegar/baking soda eruptions, students use Play-Doh to mark where the lava flowed. In teams they examine the stratigraphy and map the flows.


Mars Robotics Activities
Grade Level: 6-8
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: MSL / Curiosity (Mars)

Short Description: Mars robotics activities provide ideal ways to help students understand the role of engineering and technology in today's world. From looking at personal robots to those we send to other worlds, these activities will help students learn the different elements necessary to design, build and support robotic missions to the Red Planet.


Mars Student Imaging Project
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Earth, Mars
Mission: Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: The Mars Student Imaging Project (MSIP) is a nationally recognized award winning authentic inquiry-based learning and student-centered education project. Students learn how science works by engaging in science research using data from a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars. Students understand how science really works by actually being a scientist.


Mars Uncovered
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: The Mars Uncovered activity guides students through an inquiry-based and critical thinking approach to studying the surface of Mars as planetary scientists do. Students will learn to create a geologic map of Mars and use relative age dating techniques to analyze the information and interpret the geologic history of that region.


Marsbound! Mission to the Red Planet
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: Mars 2020 (Mars), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Express (Mars), Mars Observer (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Mars Sample Return (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), MAVEN (Mars), Phoenix (Mars)

Short Description: Students learn systems engineering by engaging in a mission planning simulation that mirrors a Mission to Mars. Students create a mission that has to balance the return of science data with mission limitations such as power, mass and budget.


Planetary Geology: Impact Cratering
Grade Level: 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Earth Science (Earth), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Geologists studying impact craters have combined measurements of craters on the Earth, moon, and planets with laboratory experiments to develop approximate relations between the depth of a crater (d), its diameter (CD), and the diameter of the impacting body that produced the crater (ID). To explore these relations:

  • Use the data for Arizona's Meteor Crater shown in the class handout to estimate d/CD.
  • With that result and the laboratory observation d/ID ~ 7 develop a relation between the diameter of a crater and the diameter of the impacting body.
  • Why does any single such relation for all craters serve as only an approximation?
  • Use the result to estimate the size of the impactor that produced Meteor Crater and compare it to the estimates for the dimensions given in the class handout.


Strange New Planet
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: Mariner 04 (Mars), Mariner 06 (Mars), Mariner 07 (Mars), Mariner 09 (Mars), Mars Global Surveyor (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), Viking 01 (Mars), Viking 02 (Mars)
Short Description: Strange New Planet brings insight into the processes involved in learning about planetary exploration. This activity demonstrates how planetary features are discovered by the use of remote sensing techniques.


Summit Up: Comparing Volcanoes on Mars and Earth
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Earth Science (Earth), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: Summit Up is a 20 minute activity in which children make paper models to scale of the tallest volcanic mountains on Earth and Mars and discover a big difference between volcanoes on these two planets.


The Goldilocks Planets -- Not Too Hot or Cold
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun), Spitzer (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Once you have discovered a planet, you need to figure out whether liquid water might be present. In our solar system, Mercury and Venus are so close to the sun that water cannot remain in liquid form. It vaporizes! For planets beyond Mars, the sun is so far away that water will turn to ice. Only in what astronomers call the Habitable Zone will a planet have a chance for being at the right temperature for liquid water to exist in large quantities on its surface!


The Goldilocks Principle: A Model of Atmospheric Gases
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: Akatsuki (Venus), Earth Science (Earth), MAVEN (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: This activity introduces students to the atmospheric differences between the three sister planets in a graphic and hands-on way, using jelly beans or cotton balls to model different atmospheric gases. Students will use this understanding later as they begin to appreciate the scope and importance of the greenhouse effect on Earth.


The Orbit Simulator
Grade Level: 3-5
Solar System Body: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Comets
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: This simulator lets students explore many aspects of the orbits of planets and one comet.

NGSS Connections:


What's the Difference?
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: InSight (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: This is a free multimedia software application that facilitates scientific analysis by allowing virtually any pictures, graphics, animations and movies to be compared side by side. The solar system dataset contains comparisons of the planets and major moons within our solar system. Users can upload graphical, animated, interactive, textual, and audio-formatted content into the categories and attributes grid and then supplement their data with customized multiple choice and summary assessment tests.

Previous
Previous
    1     2    
Next
Next
    Show All
Previous
Previous
    1     2    
Next
Next
    Show All

Cake Batter Lava
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: To understand some of the geological processes and the structures that form as lava flows across planetary landscapes by using cake batter as an analog for lava.


Desert RATS
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars, Earth's Moon

Short Description: Students research and present an exploration mission timeline proposal that utilizes the scientific process to meet science objectives and mission parameters for the field site. The goal is for students to create a 3-day mission timeline of activities for exploration.


Goldilocks and the Three Planets
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: Akatsuki (Venus), MAVEN (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Students determine what some of Earth, Venus and Mars' atmosphere is composed of and then mathematically compare the amount of the greenhouse gas, CO2, on the planets Venus, Earth and Mars in order to determine which has the most.


Inside Mars -- Puzzling Patterns -- Where Does Volcanism Occur?
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: Students compare volcano maps of Earth and Mars and identify patterns, similarities and differences.


Is There Water on Mars?
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Express (Mars), Mars Global Surveyor (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: Is there liquid water on Mars? By experimenting with water as it changes state and investigating some effects of air pressure, students not only learn core ideas in physical science but can deduce the water situation on Mars by applying those concepts.


Let's Investigate Mars
Grade Level: 3-5
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Human Spaceflight (Earth), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Mars Sample Return (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: This lesson will help your students answer the question: What do I need to know about Mars in order to live there in the future?


Making and Mapping a Volcano
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: After each of a series of vinegar/baking soda eruptions, students use Play-Doh to mark where the lava flowed. In teams they examine the stratigraphy and map the flows.


Mars Robotics Activities
Grade Level: 6-8
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: MSL / Curiosity (Mars)

Short Description: Mars robotics activities provide ideal ways to help students understand the role of engineering and technology in today's world. From looking at personal robots to those we send to other worlds, these activities will help students learn the different elements necessary to design, build and support robotic missions to the Red Planet.


Mars Student Imaging Project
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Earth, Mars
Mission: Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: The Mars Student Imaging Project (MSIP) is a nationally recognized award winning authentic inquiry-based learning and student-centered education project. Students learn how science works by engaging in science research using data from a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars. Students understand how science really works by actually being a scientist.


Mars Uncovered
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: The Mars Uncovered activity guides students through an inquiry-based and critical thinking approach to studying the surface of Mars as planetary scientists do. Students will learn to create a geologic map of Mars and use relative age dating techniques to analyze the information and interpret the geologic history of that region.


Marsbound! Mission to the Red Planet
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: Mars 2020 (Mars), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Express (Mars), Mars Observer (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Mars Sample Return (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), MAVEN (Mars), Phoenix (Mars)

Short Description: Students learn systems engineering by engaging in a mission planning simulation that mirrors a Mission to Mars. Students create a mission that has to balance the return of science data with mission limitations such as power, mass and budget.


Planetary Geology: Impact Cratering
Grade Level: 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Earth Science (Earth), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Geologists studying impact craters have combined measurements of craters on the Earth, moon, and planets with laboratory experiments to develop approximate relations between the depth of a crater (d), its diameter (CD), and the diameter of the impacting body that produced the crater (ID). To explore these relations:

  • Use the data for Arizona's Meteor Crater shown in the class handout to estimate d/CD.
  • With that result and the laboratory observation d/ID ~ 7 develop a relation between the diameter of a crater and the diameter of the impacting body.
  • Why does any single such relation for all craters serve as only an approximation?
  • Use the result to estimate the size of the impactor that produced Meteor Crater and compare it to the estimates for the dimensions given in the class handout.


Strange New Planet
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Mars
Mission: Mariner 04 (Mars), Mariner 06 (Mars), Mariner 07 (Mars), Mariner 09 (Mars), Mars Global Surveyor (Mars), Mars Pathfinder (Mars), Viking 01 (Mars), Viking 02 (Mars)
Short Description: Strange New Planet brings insight into the processes involved in learning about planetary exploration. This activity demonstrates how planetary features are discovered by the use of remote sensing techniques.


Summit Up: Comparing Volcanoes on Mars and Earth
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Earth Science (Earth), Spirit/Opportunity (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

Short Description: Summit Up is a 20 minute activity in which children make paper models to scale of the tallest volcanic mountains on Earth and Mars and discover a big difference between volcanoes on these two planets.


The Goldilocks Planets -- Not Too Hot or Cold
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: Heliophysics (Sun), Spitzer (Our Solar System)

Short Description: Once you have discovered a planet, you need to figure out whether liquid water might be present. In our solar system, Mercury and Venus are so close to the sun that water cannot remain in liquid form. It vaporizes! For planets beyond Mars, the sun is so far away that water will turn to ice. Only in what astronomers call the Habitable Zone will a planet have a chance for being at the right temperature for liquid water to exist in large quantities on its surface!


The Goldilocks Principle: A Model of Atmospheric Gases
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: Akatsuki (Venus), Earth Science (Earth), MAVEN (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: This activity introduces students to the atmospheric differences between the three sister planets in a graphic and hands-on way, using jelly beans or cotton balls to model different atmospheric gases. Students will use this understanding later as they begin to appreciate the scope and importance of the greenhouse effect on Earth.


The Orbit Simulator
Grade Level: 3-5
Solar System Body: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Comets
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: This simulator lets students explore many aspects of the orbits of planets and one comet.

NGSS Connections:


What's the Difference?
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: InSight (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: This is a free multimedia software application that facilitates scientific analysis by allowing virtually any pictures, graphics, animations and movies to be compared side by side. The solar system dataset contains comparisons of the planets and major moons within our solar system. Users can upload graphical, animated, interactive, textual, and audio-formatted content into the categories and attributes grid and then supplement their data with customized multiple choice and summary assessment tests.

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