Mission to Mars!


In conjunction with Dr. Claire Cousins of the University of St Andrews and the UK Space AgencyGeoBus has developed the following resources, designed to provide a basis for teaching Planetary Science, and an introduction to using Earth Science to bring together topics across the STEM curriculum. It provides experiments, activities and lesson plans all based on recent and upcoming exploration of Mars, and also includes talking points and supporting activities themed around the popular film The Martian.

The material can be easily adapted for any age group, and can be run as individual lessons or combined to create a small project over a few weeks, which can also be linked to a visit from GeoBus. It is also a good starting point for pupils wishing to carry out a CREST Award focused on space exploration or planetary science – for more information please feel free to contact us.

Plate Tectonics on Mars

This activity provides an introduction to Plate Tectonics on Earth, as well as considering the differences between Earth and Mars. The two systems are modeled using yogurt, bread and crackers and the different types of plate boundary can be demonstrated. The slides go through some of the evidence from images of Mars that suggest it previously had an active system of Plate Tectonics, but no longer does.

Tectonics_on_Mars (includes teachers notes, instructions and worksheet – available separately below)

Tectonics_on_Mars_slides (available as editable .ppt file soon – contact us to request it)


Tectonics_on_Mars_teachernotes       Tectonics_on_Mars_worksheet       Tectonics_on_Mars_answers

Volcanoes on Mars

This activity introduces the concept of studying volcanoes from a distance by demonstrating that past eruptions can be partly reconstructed and placed in relative age order by mapping out lava flows. A series of volcanic eruptions (vinegar + bicarbonate) are created and the extent and shape of the flows is recorded, then the history of the eruptions is investigated (groups swap ‘final product’ volcanoes to study).

Volcanoes on Mars (includes teacher notes, instructions, worksheet, answer sheet – available separately below)

Volcanoes on Mars – teaching slides (available as editable .ppt file soon – please contact us to request it)

Volcanoes_on_Mars_teachernotes   Volcanoes_on_Mars_instructions    Volcanoes_on_Mars_worksheet    Volcanoes_on_Mars_answers

Terraforming Mars

Coming soon – watch this space!

Mars' Moons

Coming soon – watch this space

Useful links and other resources

Geological Map of Mars (USGS)

BGS MarsQuake Project – Aimed at 11–16 year-olds, these activities include modelling and locating meteorite impacts, to better understand the internal structure of the ‘red planet’.

Mars lesson plans by NASA – lessons, resources and programs about Mars.

Check out the Mars series of our Geology In A Minute videos!