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Mars Activities
The lessons below are teacher-favorite lessons focused on the Red Planet. For more search options or to search by other science target, missions and other criteria, visit our Fast Lesson Finder. You can also search by curriculum standards on our popular Curriculum Standards Quilts.


Mars Lessons:

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Exploring Ice in the Solar System
Topic: Ice in the Solar System, Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Comets, Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud, Earth's Moon, Europa, Pluto, Ceres
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MESSENGER (Mercury), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets), Rosetta (Comets)

Short Description: Examine the importance of water in the form of ice in the solar system. From hands-on experiences with ice, the unit moves on to investigating ice in everyday life, in polar regions on Earth, and throughout the solar system.


Exponential Functions and the Atmosphere
Topic: Space Math, Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Earth, Mars, Earth's Moon
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), LADEE (Earth's Moon), Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars), MAVEN (Mars)

Short Description: A study of the way a planet's atmosphere changes as its temperature is changed using exponential functions.


Gelatin Volcanoes
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: Jell-O is used to explore how lava flows in a volcano.


Goldilocks and the Three Planets
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: 5-8
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?
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars)

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


Investigating the Martian Polar Caps
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth, Mars
Mission: Hubble (Beyond Our Solar System)

Short Description: Students use internet resources and image processing to measure and compare the Martian and terrestrial polar caps at different seasons, and analyze their results.


Making and Mapping a Volcano
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
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 Pathfinder Egg Drop and Landing
Topic: Ancient Astronomers / Modern Tools
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Mars
Mission: Mars Pathfinder (Mars)

Short Description: One important tool used by modern planetary scientists is a lander. In this activity, students model a mechanism for safely delivering a lander to the surface of another world.


Mars Robotics Activities
Topic: Far Ranging Robots
Grade Level: 5-8
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.


Remote Sensing Ices on Mars
Topic: Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Global Surveyor (Mars)

Short Description: Students analyze data collected by Mars spacecraft using three different energies of light -- visible light, infrared light and gamma rays -- to investigate the composition and distribution of ices at the high latitude regions of Mars.

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Last Updated: 6 Feb 2014