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Lesson Title: Earth Versus Mars
May 11, 2012

Unit: Earth and Space Science - Remote Sensing

Grade Levels: 7-9

Connection To Curriculum: Science, Technology and Geography

Teacher Prep Time: 1 hour
(depending on instructor's familiarity with landforms and availability of student Internet access)

Lesson Time Needed: 1 hour

Complexity Basic

Keywords: erosion, landforms, craters, channels, planet origin, geography, volcanoes, earthquakes, day, year, charting, compare and contrast, topography, physical processes


Student Briefing and Log:
Student Worksheets
Student pages 1–4; lesson pages 9–12
One per student or student group
Satellite Images of Landforms Set:
Lesson pages 4–8 (figures 3–12) copied and laminated
One per student or student group
Earth vs. Mars Chart
Page 15
One per student or student group
Various references on Earth and Mars

Remote satellite images of Earth and Mars are used to compare and contrast physical processes that occur on both planets.

Students will:
• Identify similarities and differences between the physical processes that occur on Earth and Mars.
• Classify images of Earth and Mars by observing physical features in each image.
• Speculate about the physical features observed in each image.

First page of Earth vs. Mars

Lesson Guide
Earth Versus Mars Lesson
[260KB PDF file]



Lesson Activities and Sequence

  1. Earth vs. Mars: What similar physical processes occur on both Earth and Mars?
    In this activity, students work in pairs to compare and contrast the physical processes that may be inferred through the observation of images of both Mars and Earth. They will discuss the processes that have occurred on the Earth and the outcomes that have resulted, and transfer this knowledge to the interpretation of the processes that may have occurred on Mars.
    Keywords: physical processes, geography, planet origins, erosion, landforms, earthquakes, volcanoes, atmosphere, fluvial, canyons, channels, craters, uplilfting, downcutting
  2. Earth vs. Mars: Charting the physical characteristics of both Earth and Mars
    In this activity, students work together to fill in the missing information on the comparison chart (link above, page 15). They will then use other resources to create a representation (Venn diagram, graph, powerpoint, etc.) to share with the class. This representation will show how Earth and Mars are alike and different.
    Keywords: distances, diameter, volume, orbital tile, surface temperature, day, year, charting, journal, compare and contrast

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.

Physical Science
• Properties and changes of properties in matter.
• Motion and forces.
• Transfer of energy.
• Interactions of energy and matter.

Physical Science
• Structure of the earth system.
• Earth's history.
• Origin and evolution of the universe.

Science and Technology
• Understanding of science and technology.

National Geographic Society, NCGE
Places and Regions
Physical Systems

National Technology Standards, ISTE
Research and Information Fluency


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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator