Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mars Math: Out-of-this-World Word Problems

Space exploration is fascinating. That's not an opinion, it's a fact. If you don't believe me, read up on future manned missions to Mars. It will blow your mind!

To bring science and math together, I made my son a book of word problems that test his subtraction, coordinate mapping, decimals, and multiplication skills. All the problems are related to Mars and future space exploration there.

The problems are a companion to an incredible book by Pascal Lee. It's been awhile since our 9-year-old loved a non-fiction book this much. His eyes were popping and his jaw was dropping and I couldn't stop him from interrupting storytime with our youngest because the facts were simply mind-boggling. I'd HIGHLY recommend you get a copy of Mission: Mars for any space-loving kid!

The book contains 9 pages of word problems, some that truly challenged my son who struggled with multiplying decimals (where's that decimal point go, Mom?). He was determined, though, and despite using a calculator for a few, he was beyond excited to get confirmation that his answers were right.

Here are a few of the problems you'll find in this free download.

Because of low gravity, you can leap 2.6 times higher on Mars than on Earth. If you jumped 3 feet on Earth, how many inches would that be on Mars?

Using radio signals to communicate with Earth, crew members will have to get used to a time delay. If there is a 22-minute delay between each comment, how long would the following conversation take.
"Hello, son!"
"Hi, Mom!"
"How's Mars?"
"It's dusty here. I miss you and Dad."
"We miss you too, son."
"Take care. We'll talk to you again soon."
"Okay. Bye!"

Calculate the AREA (length x width) of Valles Marineris, the giant crack on Mars. It's 2,500 miles (4,000 km) long and 120 miles (200 km) wide.

Get the PDF from Google Drive here.