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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 17:21 EDT

Teachers, Whip Up a Mouth-Watering Meteorite Activity

August 19, 2009

A recent meteorite discovery on Mars and an edible classroom activity provide a scrumptious way to kick off the new school year with a meteorite lesson.

Mars meteorite discovered

NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover recently spotted a rock that looked as big as a large watermelon. Scientists used instruments on the rover to determine that this large rock was indeed a meteorite. In fact, it’s the largest meteorite yet found on Mars. Opportunity also determined that it is an iron-nickel meteorite and has a distinctive triangular pattern on its surface, matching a pattern common in iron-nickel meteorites found on Earth.

Classroom activity: Edible rocks (Recommended for grades 4 ““ 8; Addresses Earth and space science standards)

NASA has a wide range of meteorite activities to choose from. A great fun one to kick off the new school year is called Edible Rocks. This lesson is designed to introduce the topic of meteorites in an appetizing way. Candy bars play the role of meteorites, with their fillings representing different substances that make up meteorites.

Use the wonderful new images of a meteorite on Mars to introduce students to the topic. While meteorites on Earth are more familiar, the images above show that meteorites can fall on other planets too. Meteorites are tiny fragments that have broken off asteroids, survive their fiery passage through a planet’s atmosphere and land on that planet’s surface.

Go to activity: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/jpl/education/ediblerocks.html

Resources: Meteorite on Mars http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2009-120

Asteroid Watch Web site http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch/

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