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A Long Way From Home - Extensions

Discovery Experience 2 – A Long Way From Home (Traveling to Mars Through the Solar System)The students will understand the relationship between Earth and Mars in the solar system by comparing and contrasting the two planets.

nb10Math Extension

  • How long would the trip take?
  • Show a picture similar to that on the Packing for the Long Trip to Mar link below, where there are orbits of both of Earth and Mars. 
  • Ask students how they estimate the distance between the two.  Give them a scale:  1 inch = certain amount of miles.  Have them calculate how far Mars is from earth.
  • Show them that Earth and Mars are moving. If the spaceship is pointed to Mars it will miss.  Have students try this:  One student is walking and another throws a ball at them, not in front of them.  The ball should miss. Have the student run.  The ball should miss more.
  • How can we get the person to catch the ball?  Throw the ball in front.  
  • How far in front?  Depends on how much time it takes for the person to catch up with the ball.
  • Show the two balls moving at different rates.
  • Show picture similar to that found on packing list.
  • How can they find the distance?  Measure it with string.
  • Have students try to find distance traveled.
  • With chalk, draw two big circles on the ground.  Students would calculate:
    1. How far the earth moves in 260 days using the fact that a whole circle is 365 days.
    2. How far Mars moves in that time, using the fact that Mars moves 687 days for one circle.  
    3. How far to shoot in front by measuring nice path with string.
    4.  If 1 inch of string is so many miles (based on drawing), calculate how many miles the spaceship will travel in that time.


Math/Science Extension

Create a drawing of the solar system to scale.  See the site below for directions.

Language Arts Extensions

  • Write a Captain’s Log for the final 3 days before landing on Mars.  Describe your trip through the solar system, what you see, and hazards you encounter.
  • Write an cinquain poem about the solar system, Mars, or Earth.
  • Plan an interview with a NASA representative. 
    • Call, e-mail, or write a letter to the person asking for an interview.
    • Set the date and time of the interview.
    • Plan your questions and record them.
    • Conduct your interview.
    •  Write up your interview and share it with the class. (If the interview can be done  in person, ask if it can be videotaped and present the video to the class.)
      Scholastic.com provides guidelines for conducting a face to face interview but some suggestions would also apply to a remote interview.
  • Plan a solar system lesson for younger children.
    Make all the materials you need to teach the lesson.
    Practice teaching your lesson.
    Make arrangements to teach your lesson to children in a lower grade.
    Another option:  Design a solar system PPT for younger children.


Science Extension


Check the NASA site – “Mars and Solar System Websites" in TR for lessons comparing the geological features of Earth and Mars using satellite images and stream tray experiments.

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Contact Info

  • Kathleen Letsky, Curriculum Specialist
  • Nathan Patia, STEM Specialist
  • Salvador Cabusi, Technology Specialist
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  • Krause Family Foundation
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  • Tel: 808.778.1265

The Krause Family Foundation: ‘Alana Ke Aloha

  • ‘Alana Ke Aloha places relationship at the heart of all learning.  We create and support projects that engage participants’ imagination, collaboration, and problem solving toward a healthy planet.
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