Just for Teachers
Thinkquest project, "Mars Madness," is created for students by students in hopes of exciting students in grades 4-6 to study Mars. The Mars Madness staff also hopes that teachers will use this user-friendly interactive website as one of their online resources in their study of Mars. This lesson plan is created by the coaches to assist teachers in their use of Mars Madness with their students.
Unit of Study: Mars
- Compare and contrast Earth with Mars to understand what survival systems are needed to survive on Mars.
- Demonstrate a need to collect as much data as possible before drawing conclusions.
- Demonstrate the value of skepticism by asking many questions and looking for evidence to support or contradict explanations.
National Educational Technology Standards
- Use technology resources for problem-solving, self directed learning, and extended learning activities
- After researching Mars the students will be able to take a position as to whether or not man can or cannot survive on Mars.
- Using problem solving and creative thinking skills, the students will be able to create models of survival systems after researching information about Mars.
Learning Activities1. Introduction of Mars: brainstorm with students using the KWL model: what you know, what you wonder about Mars, and what you have learned.
- Inventory students on what they know about Mars and chart their responses. Post them in the classroom.
- Students will write questions of what they wonder about Mars.
2 . Introduce the Mars Madness Website as one of the on-line resources in obtaining information about Mars.
- 3. Students will research the ABCs of Earth and Mars: climate, terrain, gravity, oxygen content, air pressure, size, atmosphere, distance from the sun, etc.
- Students will create a spreadsheet that shows the comparison between Mars and Earth.
- Students will share and discuss the answers from the Mars and Earth Comparison page.
- Teacher leads the students in producing some generalizations about Mars. Examples: Mars gravity is 40% of Earth's; Mars year is twice Earth's; the length of day is about the same; atmosphere of Earth mostly nitrogen and oxygen, Mars atmosphere is made up of almost all carbon dioxide.
- Students will apply what they have learned about Mars and Earth by participating in the Mars' Math Mania activity.
6. Students will write a position paper on the topic: Can Human Beings Survive on Mars? Why or why not?
7. Teacher will initiate a discussion on what systems are needed in order for humans to survive on Mars.
- Lead the students into formulating the 8 Mars Research Community Design Survival Systems.
- Each student or team will select a survival system to investigate in detail.
- The student or team will construct and design a model of a survival system using recycled materials. Each model of a system should not be larger than 28 cm. x 40 cm.
- The student will describe the system in writing and will include four Mars facts about the system.
- Students will work on the Mars to the Max - "A Sticky Situation" interactive activity that involves the selection of survival systems to overcome obstacles on Mars.
9. By using the rubrics and making a list of what they have learned about Mars, the students will evaluate their work. Students will compare this list with the one they did prior to their study of Mars.
10. Optional Activity: Students will create a Martian Pet that can survive on Mars.
- Live from Earth and Mars: http://www-k12.atmos.washington.edu/k12/
- NASA Mars Pathfinder website: http://mars.pgd.hawaii.edu/default.html
- Walk the Solar System: http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/
- Challenger Center On-Line: http://www.challenger.org/programs.html#ville
- Educational Resources for teachers:
- NASA Space Links: http://spacelink.nasa.gov/index.html
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