A Long Way From Home

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.

STANDARDS   ADDRESSED

SCIENCE

ELA READING

ELA WRITING

ELA SPEAKING/LISTENING

MATH

TECHNOLOGY

SC.8.8.3

LA.6.1.2, LA.6.2.2

LA.6.4.1 - LA.6.4.4

LA.6.6.1, LA.6.6.3

MA.6.2.1

Content stds

SC.8.8.10

LA.7.1.2, LA.7.2.2

LA.7.4.1 - LA.7.4.4

LA.7.6.1, LA.7.6.2

MA.6.3.1

1-5

SC.8.8.11

LA.8.1.2, LA.8.2.2

LA.8.4.1 - LA.8.4.4

LA.8.6.1, LA.8.6.2

MA.6.3.2

 

SC.8.8.12

 

LA.6.6.4

MA.7.4.2

 

 

 

 

LA.7.6.3

 

 

 

 

 

LA.8.6.3

 

 

 

 

 

LA.8.6.4

 

 


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.

Time Allotment:  4 Days (Depending on activities chosen)

Day 1 - Exploring the Solar System

Resources

Materials:

  1. Film or video about solar system (check school resources and "Mars and Solar System Websites" in TR)
  2. Note Taking Resources (in Misc. Resources -TR)
  3. Roadmap to the Rescue (from Unit Inroduction)


Procedure:

  1. Review information about Mars from previous week
  2. Show student the Roadmap to the Rescue and highlight next step.
  3. State lesson objective.
  4. View film or video on the solar system – students take notes as they watch the film.  Stop the film/video at selected points to check understanding.  Click on the following link for some excellent suggestions for keeping students actively involved and checking understanding.
  5. nb8
  6. Break students into small study groups (3-4)
  7. Review the material from the film or video using “Numbered Heads Together” cooperative learning strategy


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.

Day 2-3 Comparing Earth and Mars

Resources


Materials:

  1. Calculators
  2. Diagram of the solar system (TR- “Mars and the Solar System Websites”)
  3. Nonfiction texts on Mars, Earth, and the Solar System (TR)
  4. Note Taking Resources (in “Misc. Resources -TR)
  5. Computer/Internet Access
  6. VENN Diagram – 2 Circles


Procedure:

  1. Review previous day’s learning
  2. Break students into their study groups (same groups as previous day).  In their groups have students do the following:
    • Label the planets in the solar system
    • Using a diagram of the solar system (drawn to scale), locate Earth and Mars and calculate the following:
      • Distance between Earth and Mars
      • Distance between the sun and Mars
      • Distance between the sun and Earth
      • Determine the circumference and diameter of Earth and Mars.  Calculate the difference in size.  How much larger is Earth than Mars?
  3. Groups share their calculations with the whole class.  
  4. nb6
  5. Individually, have students respond in writing  to the question “How do size and distance from the sun affect conditions on Earth and Mars?”
  6. Share responses with a partner and then have a whole class discussion on the question.
  7. Using this information, information gathered from the film/video, outside reading, and information learned about Mars the previous week, have students (individually) complete a VENN diagram showing the similarities and differences between Earth and Mars.
  8. After completing an individual VENN, students meet in same study groups to compare their VENN diagram information.  Any additions to individual VENN diagrams should be made in colored ink.  Teacher should circulate and check accuracy of VENN.


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.

Day 4 - Checking UnderstandingResources


Materials:

  1. VENN Diagrams
  2. Notes from film/video
  3. Solar system diagram
  4. Mars, Earth, and the Solar System Quiz (TR)
  5. Blank Test Format (TR)
  6. Passport to Mars (from Unit Introduction)


Procedure:

  1. Students meet in their study groups to review all materials (VENN, notes on film/video, diagram of solar system, and any additional information they’ve been given.
  2. nb18
  3. Have students predict quiz questions and test each other on the material.
  4. Follow the group review activity with the Mars, Earth, and the Solar System Quiz
  5. An alternative is to have the groups make up a quiz (with an answer key) for another group.  Each group takes another group’s quiz.  There is a blank 5 question multiple choice test making form in TR (Blank Test Form) that students may use to make up their quiz.  A combination of a student and teacher made test is another option.
  6. Check quiz and mark off Passport (from Unit Introduction)


Assessments

  • Quiz
  • Individual VENN Diagrams
  • Group Observation


Optional Activity
Have students go on a Solar System Scavenger hunt.
(Go to Science & Social Studies – Space-Solar System and then click on solar system scavenger hunt.  There are also articles and quizzes on each planet, moons, sun, dwarf planets, etc. on this website.


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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