Next Stop, Mars

article by Sue Bursztynski , illustrated by Fifi Colston

Learning intention: 

I am learning how to adopt a role when communicating in a scenario so that I can express my knowledge of a topic in a manner appropriate for an intended audience. 


Success criteria: 

  • I can use my comprehension of a text to further theorise on a topic. 
  • I can take on a specific role and answer questions relating to the topic of a text. 
  • I can consider the intended audience when adopting a role. 

After reading the text, watch the BBC News video NASA Perseverance Mars rover begins key journey to find life 

Break students into small groups to have a brainstorming discussion about what life may be like for a crew traveling to Mars based on what they have learnt from the article and the video. Advise them to consider how they may feel leaving their loved ones behind to explore space, how life for them will be different while they are away and what kind of things they will be doing on their journey.  

After having a few minutes to discuss their thoughts, ask students to share some ideas from their group. If not already covered with previous answers, ensure main points of the hypothetical journey are covered, including: 

  • It will take several months to reach Mars 
  • Crews will need to travel to the moon on their way to Mars 
  • Crews will need to collect water from the Clavius Crater on the Moon’s sunlit side to help produce fuel for the spacecraft to reach Mars 
  • Astronauts will be able to stay on the Lunar Gateway for up to two months 
  • ‘Moon buggies’ will be able to travel 10,000km, giving astronauts a chance to explore and learn about the Moon’s surface 
  • Two astronauts will be able to walk on the surface of Mars 
  • Crews will need to live together for a long time to reach Mars and back 
  • The planets need to line up for crews to return safely to Earth 


Students should then be paired up. Inform them that one person will be playing the role of an interviewer and one will be playing a crew member who has recently been to Mars. Students in the interviewer role should use their knowledge to come up with relevant and interesting questions to ask the astronaut and the student in the astronaut role should give insightful answers based on their understanding from the article and video. Explain that there are different ways of conducting interviews and communicating information, and that some may have a light-hearted feel, while others have a more serious, journalistic approach. View the following videos as examples for the students: 

Astronaut Chris Hadfield Ejected Dirty Underwear into Space 

Crew of Artemis II Sits Down with ABC 2 News in First Live TV Interview 



Assessment for/as learning: 

Allow students time to brainstorm and write notes prior to conducting their interviews. Interviews should be recorded on a device to allow editing as necessary or rehearsed and performed in front of the class. You may also like to use the digital learning selector Facts and Claims templates to scaffold the recording of reasoning with evidence.