The Mars Curriculum Modules are designed to help bring the topic of Mars into your 4-12 classrooms.
As scientists look for evidence of life on Mars, they will focus much of their search in areas where volcanic heat and water interacted early in the geologic history of the planet. Two lessons in this packet on volcanoes and mapping river channels reinforce these basic geologic processes. These lessons lead directly to a set of simple activities that help students develop an understanding of the microbial life scientists will be searching for on Mars. The hands-on, interdisciplinary activities reinforce and extend important concepts within existing curricula.
Reaching for the Red Planet (Grades 4-6)
Reaching for the Red Planet is a multi-purpose curriculum focusing on planning a Mars colony. It was developed for grades 4-6 gifted and talented students. The project entails learning general facts about the planet, learning about the Earth's environment, choosing a purpose for a colony on Mars, and planning and designing a colony on Mars. The students will use drawings, creative writing, research skills, team work, math and the scientific method to explore their own environment and design an artificial one for Mars. Several assignments, a teacher's tour guide to the planets, a guide to the question of life on Mars, and a guide to current and planned Mars missions are included. Experiments for the students to perform in class are explained in detail.
Probing Below the Surface of Mars (Grades 5-8)
Students will record and graph temperature data to learn about NASA's Mars Microprobe Mission (also known as Deep Space 2), and how the properties of a material affect the transfer of heat. Students will use a model of an ice-rich and ice-free near-surface on Mars to examine how the ice content of the martian soil will affect the rate at which a warm probe will cool.
Educational Sites Created by Mars Missions and Instruments
What's the weather like on Mars today?
Mars Global Surveyor is currently orbiting Mars. The Global Surveyor Radio Science Team Education Outreach Program at Stanford University gives a daily Martian Weather Report and has a selection of lessons and activities for grades K-12.
What's happening on the surface?
The Mars Orbiter Camera is looking at craters, flood channels, layered terrain and other surface features, and sometimes sees clouds and dust devils, too! Malin Space Science Systems has assembled some interesting educational materials.
How deep are Mars' valleys and how high are its mountains?
The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter from NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center is mapping the ups and downs of Mars' surface.
What can we learn from Mars' magnetic field?
The Magnetometer/Electron Reflectometer team at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center can tell you.
What's Mars made of?
The Thermal Emission Spectrometer on Mars Global Surveyor is finding out! Visit their educational website at Arizona State University.
A network of miniaturized instruments may someday stretch around Mars, returning seismic and weather data from around the globe. Two small probes will slam into Mars' surface on December 3, 1999, as part of the New Millennium Program's development of technologies to enable future missions.
Other Useful Sites:
Imagine creating a village for 100 transplanted earthlings on Mars in the year 2030!
The Mars Millennium Project, an official White House Millennium Council Youth Initiative, is an interdisciplinary learning project for students from kindergarten through high-school throughout the United States.
Build a Scale Model of our Solar System
Lunar and Planetary Institute
Live from Earth and Mars
Mars Team Online / Space Scientists Online
The Nine Planets Mars Page
CERES MarsQuest Activity (grades 5-8)
CERES Analyzing Meteorological Data From Mars (grades 5-8)
Exploring Planets in the Classroom
Windows to the Universe
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