Teachers' Guide

Click here for a complete teachers’ guide to The Mighty Mars Rovers, which includes pre-reading activities, a discussion guide, and more than a dozen activities to bring Mars exploration to life for your students.

Example Questions

In order to get the rovers to Mars, many scientists and engineers have to work together. Describe a situation where you had to work with others to get a job done? What went well? What challenges arose? Why?

What obstacles did Steve Squires face getting the rover project started? What did he do to try to overcome them? How did he finally succeed? What qualities does he have that helped him accomplish this goal? Do you have any of these qualities?

Sofia Collis won the rover naming contest, calling the two Spirit and Opportunity. Why are these appropriate names? If you were entering the contest, what names would you submit? Why?

Online Resources

Mission updates on Opportunity and Curiosity, links to the best NASA /JPL videos, and some fun hands-on activities for kids can be found on The Mighty Mars Rovers Cool Stuff page.

Check out NASA’s educator’s website for amazingly comprehensive unit and lesson plans on Mars, Mars exploration, and robotics.

Get SIXTEEN amazing lesson plans on robotics on Mars, including how to guide students to design, build and test a lander for a delicate Mars rover (an egg!).

Consider entering your class or school in the Imagine Mars Project, which walks students through the process of imaging and designing a community on Mars.

Through Mars Exploration Student Data Teams, high school and college students can join with Mars scientists to analyze real data from Mars.

Go to Explore! Mars Inside and Out for activities to explore geologic features on the red planet such as volcanoes, craters, and stream channels and compare them to features on Earth.

Send your students to this good JPL website for background information about Mars.



Here are some really good longer videos and talks you can share with your students:

An interview with scientist Steve Squyres

Exploration of the Red Planet: A lecture by Steve Squyres

A TED talk from the director of the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) about the history of the lab and its Mars Rover mission 

More Stellar Teaching Lessons

Out of Sight Rover Driver

Students will work in teams to create a course for remote control cars, calibrate the time, distance, and turns needed to make it through, and “blindly” drive the rover through the course using the calculations. 

Robots Engineering Unit

A series of engineering design projects and activities for students from NASA. 

Finding Spirit Activity

Students use photos of the surface of Mars and protractors to locate the position of Spirit. Students will learn about range, bearing, image scale, reference point, and grommets. 


Math Story Problems

Use the book as a starting point for word problems. For lower grades, write story problems such as: A rover travels 5 miles, then 3 miles. How far did it travel all together? For higher grades, try story problems with higher competencies such as: a rover needs to drive from point A to point B. A to C = 5 miles, C to B = 7 miles, how far from A to B? (ABC is a right triangle)



Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Rusch

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