In this WebQuest, students do some Internet research on the planet Mars. They learn about space missions to Mars and about what planetary science can tell us about Mars geology. They learn about the composition of Mars meteorites and why scientists think that meteorites provide evidence that life once existed on Mars. They discover the possibility that liquid water once existed on Mars, and learn why that possibility is significant. Finally, they answer some questions about Mars rocks, based on their Internet research.
Students will try to answer the set of questions as they explore the Internet sites given. Each web site has some of the answers to the questions, but several of the questions require information from two or more of the web sites. Students should be about to compile information to answer the questions as they read through each web site. Although several of the web sites give detailed information about the geological composition of meteorites from Mars, students are not expected to become experts in Mars geology. Rather, they should be able to gain a general understanding of how meteorites from Mars show evidence of the geology of the planet. From their Internet research, students should also be able to make a reasonable conclusion as to whether life once existed on Mars.
Students will use the Internet links given to find out all about Mars rocks. They will learn why scientists have identified Mars as the origin of certain meteorites, and what those meteorites can tell us about the planet Mars. They will also explore what we have learned about Mars from past and present spaceflights and find out what future missions to Mars hope to accomplish. Finally, they will decide for themselves if there is enough evidence to show that life once existed on Mars.
1 class period for research and answering the set of questions.
As students progress through the list of web sites, you may help them to focus on what they need to know to answer the questions given. Several of the web sites have links to other web sites with relevant information. If time allows, you may want to allow students to explore this subject further. However, many of the sites eventually link back to those listed on the student pages.
You may assign 10 points to each of the 10 questions for a total of 100 possible points. The answers to the questions are given below. You may rate the answer to each questions by the following scale: Excellent – 9-10 points; Very Good – 7-8 points; Good – 5-6 points; Satisfactory – 3-4 points; Poor – 1-2 points; and Unsatisfactory – 0 points.
Questions about Mars Rocks!
Using information gathered from the Internet, students should be able to answer the questions given about Mars rocks. From their research, students should be able to draw some conclusions about the possibility that life once existed on Mars. Have students discuss the importance of finding magnetite crystals in Mars meteorites. Also have students discuss how the presence of liquid water on Mars influences whether life as we know it could exist on that planet.