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Searching for Signs of Life on Mars (KS3 and KS4)
Students begin by researching suitable criteria for defining the presence of life. They then analyse soil samples in tests similar to the experiments on the Mars Viking Lander. They use their operational definition of life to determine whether there are any signs of life in three different soil samples. Teams make observations, draw pictures as they collect data from the samples, and then reach their conclusions.
Mars Life - Viking Mission (KS4)
Students begin by reviewing their criteria for defining the presence of life (either by using the 'Searching for Signs of Life' activity, or a classroom discussion). They then read the descriptions of the Viking Lander biology experiments. They will use their knowledge of life processes to determine the principles by which each of the Viking instruments looked for signs of life. Teams will answer the questions on their worksheets (with the help of the fact sheet provided) and then decide to focus on one experiment, which they will explain to the rest of the class.