Mars Lesson Presentation


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This is an interactive, week-long lesson on Martian Science for middle-schoolers.

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Mars Lesson Presentation

  1. 2. Explain 1: How to Calculate the Average Orbital Velocity for Earth (how fast?) <ul><li>Step 1: Write down the formula </li></ul><ul><li>Speed = Distance/ Time (S=D/T) </li></ul><ul><li>Step 2: Plug in any known variables </li></ul><ul><li> Do we know any? Yes! </li></ul><ul><li> S: Time = 365 days </li></ul><ul><li> T: S = D/ 365 days (we'll convert to hours later) </li></ul><ul><li>Step 3: Take out overhead of Solar System from Engage 1 and re-illustrate Earth's basically circular orbit around the Sun. </li></ul><ul><li>Write on overhead “Average Orbital Distance is about 584 million miles”. </li></ul><ul><li>Plug in Distance: </li></ul><ul><li>S = 584 million miles/ 365 days </li></ul><ul><li>Step 4: Plug the numbers in calculator. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the answer? </li></ul><ul><li>S: 1.6 million miles a day </li></ul><ul><li>Step 5: Let's convert to miles per hour. (use easier numbers first) </li></ul><ul><li>T: (illustrate on overhead) If the Earth traveled 240 miles in one day around the Sun, it would look like this. (draw a small portion of the orbit around the Sun) </li></ul><ul><li>We need to divide this amount of distance up into 24 hour segments. Just divide 240 miles by 24 hours. What's the answer? </li></ul><ul><li>S: 10 miles per hour </li></ul><ul><li>Step 6: Let's use the real numbers now. (illustrate on overhead - or have a student draw it!) </li></ul><ul><li>Divide 1.6 by 24 = .067 million miles per hour </li></ul><ul><li>Step 7: Let’s get rid of the decimal! </li></ul><ul><li>Answer? (100, 1000, 10,000 mph? more?) </li></ul>
  2. 3. 67,000 mph!
  3. 4. Elaborate 1: Calculate Average Orbital Velocity of Mars <ul><li>Students calculate Average Orbital Velocity of Mars on their own following Steps 1-7 on the overhead </li></ul><ul><li>Students are provided with the average distance Mars travels in its orbit around the Sun, (900 million miles/year) </li></ul><ul><li>Time: 687 Earth days for one orbit around Sun </li></ul><ul><li>Answer: about 1.3 million miles/day or 54,000 mph </li></ul>
  4. 5. Evaluate 1: <ul><li>How much faster is the Earth orbiting the Sun than Mars? </li></ul><ul><li>S: 13,000 mph </li></ul><ul><li>T: How could this make it difficult for NASA to conduct missions to Mars? </li></ul>
  5. 6. Day 2 & 3: Build up to final Assessment on Day4 (Develop “New” Roving Mars Mission) <ul><li>Engage 2: List at least 3 questions you would like to explore before we send humans to Mars ( Create a list on board) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Possibility of life - Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Liquid Water - Climate/Atmosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geology </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Explore 2: Explore Past and Current Missions to Mars - Jigsaw with Teams </li></ul><ul><li>Explain 2: Teacher Describes Main types of Instrumentation Used in past missions to Mars ( handout “Mars Exploration” - Instrumentation) </li></ul>
  7. 8. Mars:(2004) Spirit/Opportunity Instruments
  8. 9. Spectrometer
  9. 10. Microscopic Imager: <ul><li>“ Blueberries” have been found throughout Opportunity's Mission </li></ul><ul><li>. They are thought to be hematite concretions formed when minerals are precipitated from groundwater. </li></ul><ul><li>The presence of “blueberries” to support the idea that this rock outcrop was once soaked in liquid water. </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>Explore 3: Where do we find water (H20) on Earth? How does it behave? </li></ul><ul><li>Elaborate 3: How Water Behaves on Mars </li></ul><ul><li>Explore 5: Landforms on Mars - (goal? Choose landing site for new mission) </li></ul>
  11. 12. Explore 5: Martian Landforms <ul><li>Transparency Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Students are asked to hypothesize about how each of the landforms were created. They should write their answers on a sheet of paper. Connections should be made with what they already know about Earth and Lunar geology. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Explain 5: Martian Landforms <ul><li>Teacher introduces formal terms: volcanism (volcanic features are not common - there are less than 20 named volcanoes on Mars, and only 5 of these are giant shields), lake beds, fractures, polygonal ground, river beds, tectonics, canyons, erosion, cratering, lava flows, calderas, channels, freeze/thaw </li></ul><ul><li>Quick Assessment: Students make a chart with five categories </li></ul><ul><li>1. Erosion (#1, #5) </li></ul><ul><li> 2. Tectonics (#2) </li></ul><ul><li>3. Volcanism (#2, #7, #8) </li></ul><ul><li>4. Cratering (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7) </li></ul><ul><li>5. Possible evidence of water (#1, #3, #4, #6) </li></ul><ul><li>Students are re-shown each Martian landform. They should write down the name or type of each landform and its corresponding number in the category that best describes how it was formed. </li></ul>
  13. 15. Volcanic Rocks Spirit on “Lorre Ridge”
  14. 17. Where to Land? <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Try to survive the landing! </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Rover can only venture about 1 km from the lander </li></ul>
  15. 18. Explore 6: Communication <ul><li>Students explore concept of radio waves on Earth and in Space (satellite delay) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How fast is the speed of light? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How long did it take to send a message to the Moon? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communicating with Rovers – challenges </li></ul><ul><li>How long does it take to send make a “long distance call” to Spirit or Opportunity? (Answer?) </li></ul>
  16. 19. Roving Mars Assessment <ul><li>Create a Mission Plan to send a “New” Rover to Mars </li></ul><ul><li>a. Select Mission Objectives: what are the goals of your mission? (evidence of water, minerals, resources) </li></ul><ul><li>b. Choose an Appropriate Landing Site (explain): </li></ul><ul><li>c. Design a “test course” below that resembles a possible landing site for your rover. What materials could we use from this classroom to test our Rover? </li></ul><ul><li>d. Discuss communications (how would you account for the delay?) </li></ul><ul><li>e. Choose instrumentation, but be careful of too much added weight! (you can take along anything used previously, but you must also take along at least one new instrument - think about why you chose this site!) </li></ul><ul><li>*draw a quick sketch of your new instrument (s) and describe what it will be used for. </li></ul><ul><li>f. Plan for expected and unexpected terrain and weather, and also contingencies for breakdowns, etc (mechanical problems). </li></ul>