We recently started our Mars Unit and I wanted to have a fun/active way to connect our unit on the Moon to our new unit on Mars. This activity can be used in a few different ways, I used the first lesson posted below.
- Google Slide (Public) Earth, Mars, & Moon
- Updated July 2016 – when I used this lesson in early 2015, it was prior to the discovery of flowing liquid water on Mars – the slides have the updated fact in the Venn Diagram
- Updated Answer key and handouts (pdf)
- 16 facts, printed, cut apart, and glued onto index cards (in pdf above)
Whole class activity
- After discussing what we know about Mars (accessing prior knowledge) and guessing how big Mars is compared to Earth (many were not really sure), I gave each student one of the sixteen facts. They were not to share their facts with the class until it was their turn to present.
- They may or may not know the answer to their fact, and we discussed this first. I told them I would give them clues if they needed help and not to worry too much about getting the answer ‘wrong’.
- After a minute or so to think about it, I asked the person with Fact #1 to stand and read their fact to the class. The rest of class was to think about the fact and where it might go into the Venn Diagram, but not share their answers.
- The person with Fact #1 then had to guess where the fact fit into the Venn Diagram. Once they gave the right answer, I clicked on the ppt and the answer popped up on the screen.
- Everyone wrote fact #1 into their notes.
- Then I asked the person with Fact #2 to read their fact to the class, and so on until all 16 facts were posted.
- We would discuss each fact and any questions they might have.
- If you have more than 16 students, you can have them work with a partner and guess together.
- Instead of each student having only one fact, you can have the class work in cooperative groups and give one set of the 16 facts to a group of 4 students. They will cut apart the facts (or you can give them the facts pre-cut) and one student will work on fact #’s 1-4, another #’s 5-8, third on #’s 9-12, and the 4th on #’s 13-16.
- The students will discuss the facts within their group and place them on top of the Venn Diagram.
- Once each group has had a chance to discuss their facts, you can go over the answers as a class and have each student write the facts into their notes.
Independent Seat Work, or as part of a Station/Center/Review
- You can also do this activity where each student will cut out all 16 facts and work independently to figure out where each fact would go in the Venn Diagram. They will then write in the facts as each answer is discussed.
- As a station/center activity/review, you can have a blank laminated Venn Diagram, a laminated answer key, and laminated facts. Students can guess where each fact goes into the diagram, then check their work with the answer key and write the answers into their worksheet
- Additional STEM Lesson on Mars from Arizona State University and the NEA
- For more lessons about Mars, see my Space Science Page.
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