Water World: Large Waterbodies
It is hypothesized that an ocean on Mars might have existed. Student will learn what sedimentary structures of Earth marine environments in the ancient look like and the processes that formed them. From this earth-analog approach students will observe Mars imagery and determine whether or not a Mars ocean might have existed in the distant past.
- Students will be to identify spits on Mars and Earth and understand their formation.
- Students will be able to recognize and identify carbonate rocks and the reasons for a lack of carbonates on Mars.
- Students will critically analyze press releases of Mars discoveries and determine what, if any, other data is needed to make the scientific findings valid.
Context for Use
This learning module is meant for adaptation in an introductory earth science course and/or planetary science course. The In-Class Activities can be easily adapted for homework when desired.
Description and Teaching Materials
- In-Class Activity 1: Spits on Mars
- In-Class Activity 2: Where is the carbonate on Mars?
- Homework 1: Mars Ocean Press Release
Teaching Notes and Tips
- In-Class Activities are meant to be instructor-guided without the use of worksheets. All or part of the Activity may be used. The Image File in Resources will allow ease of implementation in the classroom.
- In-Class Activity 2: for classes >20 students try your best to pass around several specimens of carbonate rocks and/or use an overhead microscope system for the classroom so students can observe the texture and make observations of the carbonate rocks without a hand specimen.
- Homework 1: You may need to exchange the press release articles for more current articles depending on the year in which you use this material.
- Often, you will integrate the Explanation and Exploration sections of the In-Class Activities. Interact with the students as they "explore" and help them define terms/principles they should become familiar with.
Each In-Class Activity and/or Homework has its own measure of Assessment.
References and Resources
- Water World Image file (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 17.4MB Oct23 12)
- Student Version here: Mars Water World student version (Acrobat (PDF) 539kB Oct30 12)
- Spit Formation in the UK and longshore drift: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe9YBuK_qEo&feature=endscreen&NR=1
- Lake Bonneville video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SJDOluY4OI
- NASA Video "Keeping up with Carbon": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgEZpX3n5mo
- Beachy Head geology: http://www.discoveringfossils.co.uk/beachy_head_fossils.htm