Student View

Lesson Plan: Should We Try to Send Humans to Mars?

A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom

LEARNING OBJECTIVE

Students will be able to identify and evaluate key points on both sides of a debate.

KEY STANDARDS

RH.6-8.2, RH.6-8.6, RH.6-8.8, RI.6-8.6, RI.6-8.8

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

• Use this article to teach students how to evaluate claims and evidence.

• Incorporate this piece into a lesson on argument writing.

Before Reading

1. BUILD BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE
(5 MINUTES)

As a class, watch our video “Blast Off to Mars!,” which details NASA research and projects aimed at exploring Mars and one day sending humans there.

Like What You See?

Then you'll love our social studies magazine for grades 6-8! Click the button to start your free trial.

Read & Analyze

2. INDEPENDENT READING
(10 MINUTES)

Have students read the article on their own, writing down any comments or questions.

3. CLOSE-READING QUESTIONS
(10 MINUTES)

Have students write their answer to each question, or use these prompts to guide a discussion.

•EVALUATE: Why might these two authors be qualified to comment on this issue?
(Both are scientists who study space. James Green works at NASA, while Amanda R. Hendrix works at the Planetary Science Institute and has written books about space.)

• SUMMARIZE: What are some of the pros and cons of sending humans to Mars?
(Pros: People will be able to travel around Mars much faster than robots, and they make quicker decisions. Cons: Sending humans to Mars for long periods of time is unsafe.)

Extend & Assess

4. FEATURED SKILL: EVALUATING ARGUMENTS
Have students complete the skills sheet Evaluating Arguments: What’s Your Opinion?. Go over the answers as a class.

DIFFERENTIATING

Lower Level As students read the article, have them underline the key claims made by each author.

Higher Level Have students choose a side and come up with their own reasons and evidence to support it, then hold a class debate.

Print This Lesson Plan