Activity 1:Concept Introduction - What Do You Know About Mars?

From Orson Wells' War of the Worlds to the 1990's hit movie Total Recall, people of all ages have surmised, questioned, and explored our neighboring planet Mars. Scientists have been trying for over three decades to learn more about the harsh environment of the red planet through NASA missions. However, one thing that these missions have been missing is the direct participation of humans. Up until now we have sent un-manned satellites and robotic landers to collect the data that is returned to Earth for analysis. But what if we could send humans to Mars? In this lesson, you and your classmates will plan the first manned mission to Mars.

A. What things do you know or have you heard from family, friends, or media about the planet Mars? Discuss this question with your group and record the 5 most important or popular group ideas.




B. Share your group ideas with the class. In the front of the room, have your teacher or a classmate make a list of each group's ideas. If an idea is mentioned more than once, write a check mark next to the idea to indicate that another group had the same idea. As a class, vote to decide on the 5 most important ideas from the list. When voting, focus on how these ideas about Mars could be important to the future of humans? Record the top 5 ideas below.


C. Do you think that Mars is an important place for humans to investigate? Why or why not?