Lesson 2 

Life on Earth and Mars 

Role of Water


  • To hypothesize and collect data, through satellite images, in order to determine whether water exists on Mars today or in the past for possible human exploration and/ or colonization
  • To link the questions that explorers/ voyagers of the past asked to the same questions modern day explorers are asking about traveling to an unknown planet 
 Ahupua'a description and picture 
Appendix 2: Hawaiians and Water for Exploration

Image of a Sandy Beach (Ka'a'awa, HI by Dr. B. Bruno)

NASA Educator Resource Guide: Mars and Earth
Activity #5  “Did Water Create Features On Mars?”

Appendix 5:  Procedures  Worksheet “Varying and Measuring Slopes.”

Appendix 6: Data and Conclusion Worksheet

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1.    Review with students what was covered previously about Mars and Earth.  Recall why Mars is a good place to live for Earthlings
a.    Good temperature (livable)
b.    Good day length
c.    Atmosphere is not habitable but we could walk around with Oxygen masks or build biosphere to live in.
Besides these important requirements what else is needed to survive on a far away planet?   WATER

2.    Discuss the importance of water
a.    People are made-up of mainly water
b.    People need water to drink
c.    People need water to make food
d.    People need water for cleaning
Wherever that people decided to live, PEOPLE NEED WATER
3.    Discuss importance of water (wai) to Hawaiians.  Discuss the Hawaiian word waiwai and the meaning (wealth) and how the ahupua’a system worked in the
Hawaiian society.   Discuss the importance of water to the entire community and how the structure of the ahupua’a made water accessible to all in the society  (Appendix 1- Description and artistic rendering of a Ahupua'a).

4.    Before people leave to explore and inhabit another planet (such as Mars) we must make sure that water exists there or could be produced (refer to Procedure step 2 “Importance of Water”).  Discuss how the exploring
Polynesians may have answered these important questions about the existence of life sustaining waters in a foreign land and having enough water while voyaging (Appendix 2):
a.    How do we think  Hawaiian voyagers were able to have enough water to survive while on their sailing canoes? 
b.    How did they know that they would have water when they reached the far away island for the first time? 
c.    Discuss the methods of water collection/containment and the evidence that the explorers may have used to ensure that water was to be found on the new islands.
5.    Since we have decided that Mars would be a suitable destination, how can we determine whether or not water was present on Mars in the past or presently?
a.    Handout color copies of photos of water ripples on a sandy beach (Appendix 3 Photographs of Sand at Ka’a’awa Beach Park)
b.    Ask the students if anyone can say what the subject of the picture is?  (Sand)
c.    What formed the “ripples” on the sand in the images? (Water)
d.    Discuss with the students how we can use images and our own knowledge to interpret what is occurring in pictures and images.

6.    Pass out satellite images of Earth and Mars from Appendix 4: NASA Educator Guide Mars and Earth.   Use a PowerPoint presentation with the same images to
discuss each image and hypothesize how the forms depicted may have been created.  Use the Earth satellite images to show how water creates known forms on Earth to help the students hypothesize which Mars satellite images could have been formed by water.

7.    Do Activity #5 from NASA Educator Guide Mars and Earth (Appendix 5) to test the students’ hypothesis about the Mars images.  Use the worksheet found in Appendix 5 to show the students the procedures for varying slopes and measuring slopes with a protractor.   Fill in the data sheet from Appendix 6.

8.    Conclude that some of the images from Mars (to be identified by the students) look as though they were formed by water.  Guide the students to conclude that this would tell us that Mars had water at the time that these features were formed on that planet.  Discuss that this does not mean that water is present there today, but it gives us hope that water COULD exist there and maybe exists as
ice beneath the ground (i.e., could be a resource). 
 9. Finish the lesson by reading a recent article (11/2008) from the Honolulu Advertiser called  "Phoenix lander's Mars mission over, NASA says" (click on the title for the pdf file).  Discuss with the students what NASA has learned from the Phoenix's research on Mars about the existance of water on the Red Planet. 

Assessment/Performance Indicators:

Informal assessment: Class discussion with question and answers, class participation forming a hypothesis about which of the Mars satellite images were possibly formed by water

Formal assessment: Data tabulation of Experiment #5 from NASA Educator Guide Mars and Earth (Appendix 5)

Standards/HCPS:  Benchmark SC.ES.1.3 “Defend and support conclusions, explanations, and arguments based
on logic, scientific knowledge, and evidence from data”

 Benchmark SC.ES.2.1 “Explain how scientific advancements and emerging technology
have influenced society”

General Learner Outcomes:
Community Contributor: “The understanding that it is essential for human beings to work
Complex Thinker: “The ability to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving”

Effective Communicator: “The ability to communicate effectively”
Quality Producer:  “The ability to recognize and produce quality performance and quality