Life on Mars

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Brief Description: In this activity, students study 3 samples of soil from Mars and test them for life.

Author of the activity: Tsourlidaki Eleftheria,, Ellinogermaniki Agogi | Alexandros Chiotellis,, Ellinogermaniki Agogi
This activity is based on the “MARS ACTIVITIES” set of activities produced by NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Arizona State University

Subject Domain(s): Biology: Students discuss about the prerequisites of life
Environmental sciences – Students study the morphology of soil samples and discuss about how the substratum can give information about previous eras of a planet.

  • Greece: Βιολογία Β’ Γυμνασίου: Μεταβολισμός, Βιολογία Β’ Λυκείου: Η χημεία της ζωής


Links based on the Big Ideas of Science:

  • Universe > Earth and the solar System > Earth and other planets
    The samples students test are simulations of Martian soil. Through this activity students learn about Mars and its morphology and ground. Students also learn about the conditions of life and how that is related to the Sun.
  • Particles > Structure,properties and function   of elements (Periodic table) > Properties and categorization of elements, the periodic table
    Students learn about which elements are the most essential for life on Earth.
  • Cell > Growth and development of organisms > Organization for matter and energy flow in organsims
    Students learn about the conditions for life and do a set of tests to find life in the samples.
  • Earth > Earth materials and structure > Earth’s Atmosphere
    Students learn about the conditions of life and how  Earth’s atmosphere protects us from radiation and extreme conditions.

Age Range: 10-11, 11-12, 12-13, 13-14, 16-17

Didactical Hours: 2 didactical hours

Links to other activities:

  • Driving a robot (student drive a rover on Mars)
  • Trajectories (students learn about trajectories by sending a rover to Mars)
  • The Mars mission project activity (a complete activity about sending a rover to Mars to collect samples and test them for life.)


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PLATON is a two-year European project launched on September 2016. It aspires to provide teachers and school communities with a coherent teachers’ training framework which will update their current teaching practices. More particularly, PLATON aims to offer an open and innovative training framework to teachers of primary and secondary education which will focus on:

- Promoting student-centred teaching approaches;

- Promoting a holistic interdisciplinary approach;

- Support the use of online educational tools;

- Support the meaningful collaboration between teachers of the same school.


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