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NGSS Lesson Planning Template

Lesson # __2__ in a series of

_7___ lessons
Brief Lesson Description: The next step in the mission is to investigate the surface characteristics of Mars,
evaluating potential science research sites and associated landing regions. Research on Mars will tell us how that
planet evolved over time and what physical processes are at work both on Mars and Earth. Paramount to our
research is locating current and past sources of water. Why water? The fundamental requirements for life as we
know it are liquid water, organic compounds and an energy source for synthesizing complex organic molecules
(https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/why.html). So learning about water on Mars may give us clues about past or
present Martian life. And somewhere along the line Mars, which research tells us was much like Earth at its
formation, lost all (or most) of its liquid water. This lesson engages students in examining the surface features of
rocky planets (Earth and Mars). Features will help students understand why a mission to Mars is a viable
endeavor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wiUU2RNvK0) .
Performance Expectation(s):
4-ESS2-1 Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering
or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind or vegetation.
4-ESS2-2 Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earths features.
Specific Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to recognize common features of the surface of
Mars. Volcanoes, hydrogen-rich polar deposits that indicate large quantities of water ice close to
the surface, and signatures of ancient water on the surface. Students will construct a model of a
volcano, produce lava flows, and observe, draw, record, and interpret the history of the volcano.
Students will need to make the connection between the life cycle of a volcano and why they see
these features on Mars.
Lesson Level Narrative
Where is the safest place for the mission personnel to land? What weather features and hazards would the team
face when they finally arrived? These are the types of questions that the team will need to answer in preparation
for the landing. Your task is to map the possible landing areas for the mission. Your team will describe the
topography of volcanoes. Then, given certain surface features, will draw out a map from the information
gathered from Mars Global Surveyor and the Pathfinder missions.
Science & Engineering
Disciplinary Core Ideas:
Crosscutting Concepts:
ESSD2.A: Earth Materials and
Patterns of change can be used to
Students will analyze and interpret
make predictions.
data about volcanoes on Mars and
Water systems help to shape the
Cause and effect relationships are
make a map of their findings.
land and affect the types of living
routinely identified, tested, and
things found in a region. Water, ice, used to explain change.
wind, and gravity break rocks, soils,
and sediments into smaller
ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and LargeScale Systems Interactions
The locations of mountain ranges,
deep ocean trenches, ocean floor
structures, earthquakes and
volcanoes occur in patterns. Most
earthquakes and volcanoes occur in
bands that are often along the
boundaries between continents and
oceans. Major mountain chains
form inside continents or near their
edges. Maps can help locate the
different land and water features
areas of Earth.
Possible Preconceptions/Misconceptions:
Students of all ages may hold the view that Earth and Mars are not dynamic, that they have always been like
they are in the current era. Or, that changes that have occurred must have been sudden and comprehensive
(Freyberg, P. (1985). Implications across the curriculum. In Osborne, R. (Ed.), Learning in science(pp. 125-135).
Students can have different views of the dynamics of the earth with direct instruction and investigation of the
topic. Moreover, younger students who engage in modeling and map reading about Earth and Volcano
topography may lead students to construct coherent explanations about the causes of volcanoes(Duschl, R.,
Smith, M., Kesidou, S., Gitomer, D., Schauble, L. (1992). Assessing student explanations for criteria to format
conceptual change learning environments .
Grade/ Grade Band: 3-5th grade


Topic: Surface of Mars connection

ENGAGE: Opening Activity Access Prior Learning / Stimulate Interest / Generate Questions:
Opening questions:
What can we expect to experience when we get to Mars? What is the weather like? What is the best place to
land and what can we tell about the conditions of Mars from the observations that have been made from the
unmanned missions?
What do you think we need to know about Mars before we land?

EXPLORE: Lesson Description What should the teachers ask and do? What will the students do?

EXPLAIN: Concepts Explained and Vocabulary Defined:


ELABORATE: Applications and Extensions:

Formative Monitoring (Questioning / Discussion):
Summative Assessment (Quiz / Project / Report):
Elaborate Further / Reflect: Enrichment:

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