Of course my boys are crazy excited with the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. There are many different fictitious planets in the Star Wars movies, so we decided to study one of our own dry planets in the Milky Way.
Hands-On Mission to Mars Activities
1. Kick off this out of the world study and build planet Mars. Pick legos or modeling clay for students to: build, sculpt, or mold the red planet. Did you know Mars is half the size of Earth? Older students might be surprised to learn Mars does have ice caps. A great resource to read about Mars: DK EyeWitness Astronomy
2. Test gravity and blow up a red “Mars” balloon. See if your students can name all the planets in our solar system in order without the balloon dropping to the ground.
3. Mars is a very dry dusty place. Play with kinetic sand.
Even though my youngest loves to play with the blue sand, the “bronze” color is the perfect shade to discuss rust (iron oxide) in Mars’ soil.
4. Eat Mars. Treat your students to a healthy snack and make Mars granola balls together. Rather than cut long rectangular granola bars roll ingredients into balls. Discuss the real core of Mars ~ red-hot iron.
5. Sketch Mars. If you have artists in your home ~ especially ones who love chalk pastels ~ they will love the Astronomy Chalk Pastels Art Tutorial from Hodgepodge.
6. If you’d rather grab the paint, grab Styrofoam balls too and make a model solar system. Don’t have time to paint all the planets and hang them in a student’s bedroom? Consider painting one large ball red and two smaller balls gray. Try to juggle Mars and its two moons: Phobos and Deimos. Older students might spend some time hunting through Greek Mythology to find out who they were.
7. There is one volcano on Mars and it is the biggest in our entire solar system, Olympus Mons. Build an exploding volcano. Baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring make an excellent hands-on volcano.
8. Mars might be red, but it is definitely not warm. Freeze small toys in ice cubes and allow children to chisel out their treasures.
More space and planet fun at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers:
How to Make a Model of Earth’s Layers – Spice Jar Style!
Have you studied Mars before? What were some of your favorite activities?
mars image credit deposit photos