Overview: The Red Planet: Up Close and Personal

Overview
of Star Witness news story:
The Red Planet: Up Close and Personal
Description:
Star Witness news story: The Red Planet: Up Close and Personal details the unusually close encounter between Earth and Mars in August, 2003. This information can be used to introduce the idea that the planets' orbits are elliptical, which accounts, in part, for the event. This selection is an adaptation of the HubbleSite press release: Mars: Closest Encounter.
Format(s) available: Printer-friendly web page; also, downloadable PDF including story and images
Grades: 5-8, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher’s discretion
How to use it in the classroom

Teachers can use Star Witness news story: The Red Planet: Up Close and Personal as:

A content reading selection. Teachers should discuss the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary prior to having students read this selection.

An engagement activity. Have students read the selection. Ask them how technology helped astronomers make and understand the observations.

An inquiry tool. Propose a question, such as "How does the distance between Earth and Mars change our view of Mars?" Have students read the selection and write down questions they would like answered as a result of the reading.

A source of information. Have students read the selection. Conduct a class discussion using the questions associated with the reading to clarify student understanding and expand on the information provided.

Related materials

HubbleSite press release: Mars: Closest Encounter



Overview: The Red Planet: Up Close and Personal