STREAM Activity: Mars Rocks
Blast off to Mars!
Activity best for children age 3 and up
Something very exciting happened just a few weeks ago, a new rover (robotic car) landed on Mars! Mars is one of the 8 planets in our Solar System. Mars is also called the red planet because it is covered in red dust. Scientists want to explore Mars and one day may send astronauts to Mars! The Mars rover is called Perseverance and one of the jobs that it has is to pick up samples of the red soil and rocks that cover Mars. These soil samples will be studied to see if there was water on Mars, if there was life on Mars, and give scientists a better understanding of the planet. Today we get to pretend that we are space scientists and test out some “Mars rocks” that we will make at home! So put on your space suits and let’s lift off to Mars!
Materials you’ll need:
Food coloring (optional)
Bowl to mix ingredients in
How long does it take for the mars rocks to dry out?
What will happen when I add vinegar to the Mars rocks?
What is causing the reaction that I see?
Pour Baking Soda into a medium sized bowl and very slowly add water. You only need enough water to make a thick paste. Add a few drops of red food coloring to the mixture and mix well.
Spoon the paste on to a tray into little mound shapes. Place the tray in a warm dry area and wait until the paste is hard and solid to the touch. This might take a day or two.
Once the “Mars rocks” are dry, place them in a shallow, clear container. Slowly pour vinegar on to the rocks and watch what happens!
The vinegar (an acid) is reacting to the baking soda (a base) in the rocks and causing the foaming (chemical reaction).
Keep slowly adding vinegar until the mars rocks are all dissolved. Have fun!
Grown ups, are you looking for more ways to extend your child’s learning? Check out these extension activities to build upon today’s STREAM activity!
Max Goes to Mars: A Science Adventure with Max the Dog by Jeffrey O. Bennett
Real World Connections (6+)
Did you know that a new mars rover (robotic car) just landed on Mars? Perseverance is the latest rover on the red planet and it is sending back amazing photos, videos and even the sound of wind on Mars. Check out NASA’s website for more information.
Science Connections (6+)
How is Mars different from our planet? What do we have on our planet that is missing from Mars?