Monday, May 8, 2017

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Edible Mars Soil Space Experiment

Exploring the surface of another planet sounds like something out of a science fiction book, but it's totally real! This space experiment gives kids a framework for understanding how scientists study the soil on Mars...and it uses the sense of taste, a sense that often gets deliberately left out of science experiments!

This turned out to be so much fun that all our kids joined in...from preschool to upper elementary! Even the toddlers loved it (though they certainly didn't appreciate the Mars aspect)!

You could do it with a space theme, Earth science theme, or just for fun! I love the investigation aspect of it and how I got to encourage my kids to experiment with as many of their senses as they wanted. They loved this too!

We started with a brief discussion about how scientists can study soil on Mars without actually touching it...and why they would want to. We talked about how Mars rovers can use sensors to detect and send information back to Earth. Then I pulled out a plate of "Martian soil!"

The kids used their senses to gather information about the soil (or Martian crust!). They came up with four different tests we could do on the "soil" to figure out what it was made from: looking at it (sense of sight), smelling it (sense of smell), crushing it (sense of touch), and tasting it (sense of taste)!!

These little scientists actually guessed all three of the ingredients in my edible Mars soil: crackers, chocolate, and tortilla chips! Specifically, I used Ritz crackers, (sugar-free) chocolate covered graham crackers, and yellow corn tortilla chips.

You can use any kind of edible crackers, chips, or cookies to give your kiddos a chance to study soil like NASA scientists! I also enjoyed pointing out that we have had rovers land on and study the crusts of Mars, We (humans!) have sent robots to land on and study Mercury, Venus, Mars, our moon, an asteroid, a comet, and moons of Jupiter and Saturn. You can see more details about those missions here.

Studying soil can tell us the minerals and rocks that are in the soil and if there is water in the soil. We are always interested in water because it is so important for life on Earth! 

Just like our "sensors" can tell if there is chocolate in the soil, our computers are programmed with information to tell if there is water in the soil, or minerals like pyroxine, feldspars, and olivine (which we see in a lot of Martian soils). Since pyroxine, feldspars, and olivine are often found in volcanic ash, we know that Mars has a history of volcano eruptions!

Make your own science fiction project by letting your kiddos design their own edible Martian soils and testing each other's soils. Can they figure out their friends' ingredients?!!
Are you working on a space theme? Don't miss some of our favorite space-themed posts:


We did this space themed science experiment as part of Space Week with the Virtual Book Club for Kids! The suggested book this week is How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers:

Amazon Affiliate Link:

All of our co-hosts this week are sharing space themed activities! Be sure to check them out!

Building Space Words - My Storytime Corner
Star Blends Puzzles - Sea of Knowledge
Shooting Star Spinner Toy- Teach Beside Me
Edible Mars Soil Space Experiment - Preschool Powol Packets
DIY Cardboard Space Shuttle - Mama Smiles
Printable Constellation Mats by JDaniel4's Mom
Solar System Sensory Bottle - Inspiration Laboratories

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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