Overview: Mars dust storms story

of "Tales of … Dust storms seen on Mars"
Tales of … Dust storms seen on Mars details the weather on Mars from the earliest account in 1796 to 2001. This information can be used to introduce the idea that other planets experience seasons like Earth. This selection originally appeared as background information for a press release on Mars.
Format(s) available: Printer-friendly web page
Grades: 8-12, 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 Tales of … Dust storms seen on Mars 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 us understand the observations. Have students speculate what might have happened (both technologically and politically) between 1956, when the first extensive observations of a planet-encircling dust storm were made, and 1965, when Mariner 4 flew by the planet.

An inquiry tool. Propose a question, such as "Do other planets experience seasons like the Earth does?" Have students read the selection and write down as many questions as they can about the information in the text.

A source of information. Students can use this as a tool to begin sequencing the history of our exploration of Mars. Several Mars missions are listed by name. Students can research the others and fill in the gaps. For instance, Mariner 4 was the first fly-by of Mars. What happened to Mariner 3?

Related materials

Press release: "Hubble Captures Best View of Mars Ever Obtained from Earth"

Press release: "Hubble Charts Changes on the Red Planet"

Press release: "Colossal Cyclone Swirls near Martian North Pole"

Press release: "Scientists Track 'Perfect Storm' on Mars"

Overview: Mars dust storms story