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Mars is in the News! Third Grade Current Events Lesson

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 12/10/2015

Third graders are often interested in learning about astronauts, the solar system and beyond. Use current news about Mars as a springboard to develop skills and interest in current events.

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    Lesson Plan

    Objectives:

    1. Describe current events using information from class discussions and various resources (e.g., newspapers, magazines, television, Internet, books, maps). SS03-S01-C10-01

    2. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur). LA3-RI-7

    Materials:

    Computer access to NASA website for students: https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/index.html

    Gather some current magazines or newspapers from the library such as Popular Science, Science News Magazine, Scientific American, which may have current Mars news.

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    Procedure

    Say, “What is a current event? (Wait for replies.) A current event is news that has happened recently. What are some ways that we can find out what is going on in the news?"

    Brainstorm with your students the variety of resources we can use to get current news and, in this case, news about Mars. Write the ideas on the board. Suggestions could be: newspapers, specialty magazines, internet websites, television news, television informational programs such as National Geographic Channel, Weather Channel, History Channel, Science Channel. Books can give us information but the information may not be current.

    Today we are going to talk about current events about Mars. Why is Mars important to us? It is the most logical place to have had life. It has polar caps like the Earth, seasonal weather patterns, volcanoes and canyons. Mars is the easiest planet to send missions and probes. It takes a little over two years to send a mission there and about eight moths for a probe. So it is easier and faster than going to other planets. By doing these missions we are able to advance medical technology, recycling, food production and solar energy. Plus, it is exciting! Would you like to be a Mars pioneer?

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    Homework or Class Activity:

    Use newspapers, magazine or internet sites to find a current news item about Mars.

    1. Can anyone find out what could happen in 2020 that would help the Rover? (Scientists are developing a helicopter-like drone to help guide the Rover so it won’t get stuck in the sand.)
    2. What was found that could prove that Mars had water? (Ice caps, pieces of ice, smoothed stones from ancient rivers)

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