Mars Soil Investigation


  1. A Mars rover has returned to Earth with a small sample of Martian regolith (soil). Your team has been selected to analyze the soil.
  2. Like Earth soils the Martian soil sample appears to be a mixture of several materials. Your mission is to:
    1. Measure the properties of the entire soil sample (mass, volume)
    2. Separate the components
    3. Identify the nature of the components
    4. Recommend further tests

The Investigation

  1. An investigation must be designed, planned, monitored, implemented and documented.
  2. Your investigation must explicitly state what aspect of chemical behavior is being explored.
  3. The unifying investigation document will be a lab report.
  4. The design and planning of the investigation will be develop from the lab report draft.
  5. Your instructor will review your design.
  6. Your progress will be monitored with revisions(s) of the lab report.
  7. Your instructor can provide most of the investigation materials and equipment.
  8. Safety is paramount. Lab activities will be performed at school, under supervision.


  1. This investigation evaluates your INQuiry Learning Targets and counts as exam points.
  2. Each group member will complete an evaluation of their and their partner's performance.
  3. Group members may wish to partition the work. However, each group member will be responsible for complete understanding of all parts of the investigation! The instructor may individually quiz a group member as part of the evaluation.
  4. The final product will be graded with this rubric.

Teacher Section