Students will engage in a creative pre-writing process and ultimately compose a persuasive essay. The essay will address a student’s choice for the first building to be built on Mars. The pre-writing process will be initiated with an idea based tournament pitting colony building vs. colony building, where the tournament champion becomes the first building on Mars! To complete the tournament, students will write “match summaries” of the opinions and facts justifying a building’s selection. Match summaries will help students logically organize the point of view they express in the opinion piece they write.
The first building on MarsThe first building on Mars2
Student Activity Downloadable PDF The first building on Mars
Classroom Activity Downloadable PDF Classroom Activity-The First Building on Mars

Minnesota Academic Standards – English Language Arts K-12
5.6.1.1 – Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
A. Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
B. Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
C. Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
D. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

5.6.5.5 – With guidance and support from peers and adults, use a writing process to develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, drafting, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Minnesota Academic Standards – Science
Depending on how students support their opinion, students will demonstrate understandings related to the Nature of Science and Engineering (engineering) and other science content.

Mars Money Manager

5th grade STARBASE students learn about survival challenges facing the first colonists on Mars. Like the people in Colonial America, the first Mars colonists will set up a new government and decide how to spend money collected from taxes.  The Mars Money Manager lesson can be used as a supplement to social studies units on taxes. The lesson gives students a chance to make tough decisions and think about what they can and can not provide for the colony

Mars Money ManagerMars Money Manager2

Student Activity Downloadable PDF Under Construction

Classroom Activity Downloadable PDF Under Construction

Minnesota Academic Standards – Social Studies

5.1.4.7.3 – Identify taxes and fees collected, and services provided, by governments during colonial times; compare these to the taxes and fees collected, and services provided, by the government today.

In the distant future, humans may have a well-developed, thriving Mars colony. Like explorers of the past, many citizens of this new colony will have a great spirit of adventure. This begs the question: Why climb Olympus Mons (the tallest volcano in the solar system)? Because it’s there! Business savvy Mars citizens will find a way to make money in the burgeoning field of Mars Adventures. In this lesson, students will brainstorm ideas for a unique Mars adventure, study existing advertisements for techniques, and then create their own ad to promote their Mars adventure.

Adventure MarsAdventure Mars2
Student Activity Downloadable PDF Under Construction

Classroom Activity Downloadable PDF Under Construction

Minnesota Academic Standards – English Language Arts K-12
5.8.7.7 – Distinguish among, understand, and use different types of print, digital, and multimodal media.
A. Make informed judgments about messages promoted in the mass media (e.g., film, television, radio, magazines, advertisements, newspapers).
B. Locate and use information in print, non-print, and digital resources using a variety of strategies.
C. Evaluate the accuracy and credibility of information found in digital sources.
D. Recognize ethical standards and safe practices in social and personal media communications.

5.8.8.8 – Create an individual or shared multimedia work or digital text for a specific purpose (e.g., to create or integrate knowledge, to share experiences or information, to persuade, to entertain, or as artistic expression.)
A. Evaluate the Fair Use of each visual element or piece of music used in a media work and create a list documenting the source for each found image or piece of music.
B. Publish the work and share it with an audience.

Is it Safe to Live on Mars?

By participating in the STARS 2 (5th Grade) STARBASE program, students learned the dangers and challenges of living on Mars and had the opportunity to design safe solutions. After their STARBASE experience, students are asked to reflect on what they have learned to consider the question, “Is it safe to live on Mars?” Students will develop their own opinion regarding this question and will use a graphic organizer to write a five-paragraph essay stating their opinion. This activity may be used as a performance-based assessment of the STARBASE experience.

Is it Safe to Live on MarsIs it Safe to Live on Mars2

Student Activity Downloadable PDF Is it Safe to Live on Mars

Classroom Activity Downloadable PDF Classroom Activity – Is it Safe to Live on Mars

Minnesota Academic Standards – English Language Arts K-12

5.6.1.1 – Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
A. Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
B. Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
C. Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
D. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.