Dirty Truth 200

Are you a DIY-er?

Download the FREE project overview for a summary of each lesson and enough information to get started on your own.

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Can Earth be saved… or is Mars our only hope?

Life on Earth is precious and precarious. Every day, more species go extinct as our world becomes more polluted. People are fighting to make a difference‚ÄĒbut is it enough? Or should we look to the skies to save our species?

In this project, students learn about the importance of environmental protection, and about the wonders of Mars. They choose whether to support environmental protection or space exploration, and create a commercial to raise money for their cause.

Imagine if students all around the country learned to appreciate the value of our soil, and began looking to the heavens and dreaming of the future‚ÄĒwhat a wonderful world that would be!

Project Learning Targets

Lesson 1: Students understand the importance of Earth’s resources.

Lesson 2: Students investigate the potential for life on Mars. 

Lesson 3: Students analyze their values to choose between preserving Earth or colonizing Mars.

Lesson 4: Students research soil and fertilizer in order to grow crops.

Lesson 5: Students script a persuasive commercial.

Lesson 6: Students work collaboratively to film a commercial. 

Lesson 7: Students analyze a scientific finding and apply it to their commercial.

Lesson 8: Students edit a commercial electronically.

Lesson 9: Students present compelling commercials to persuade an authentic audience.

For lesson descriptions, download the project overview.

For K‚Äď8 content connections,¬†download the content correlations.

What is included with your project? 

Sample Online Resources
  • Mars Introductory Slideshow¬†
  • ‚ÄúSpoiled Soil?‚ÄĚ Experiment Plan¬†
  • How to Create a Convincing Commercial¬†
  • Dear Future Generations: Sorry (YouTube 6:02)¬†
  • The Difference Between Martian and Terrestrial¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Soil¬†
  • And so much more!
Kit Supplies
  • Martian Regolith
  • Radish Seeds
  • Hex Bug
  • Red and Blue Paper
  • English Language Arts: Analyzing Articles
  • Math: Powers of Ten
  • Science: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
  • Social Studies: Government Funding
  • Social-Emotional Learning: Relationship Skills and Social Awareness
  • Skype a Scientist
  • Real NASA Know-How
  • Worms Galore!
  • Tiny Farmers
  • Planterrific!
  • Space Tweets
  • Your Students on TV!
  • Teach the Teachers
Interplanetary Pen Pals

Exercise your imaginations‚ÄĒand spark the imaginations of other students‚ÄĒby pretending to be Martian colonists writing letters to other elementary students.

  • Timely and Actionable Feedback
  • Standards-Based Grading

To see a complete list of what’s included in your project, download the project overview.

About the Author

Elena Jinzo

5th Grade Teacher
Skyline Elementary
San Francisco, CA

Each Blue Apple Project Includes:

Are you a DIY-er?

Don’t have time for DIY?

Elena Jinzo

5th Grade Teacher
Skyline Elementary
San Francisco, CA

Hello! My name is Elena Jinzo. For over twenty-five years, I have worked to empower my students and open doors for them. Ingrid B. Lacy, my early mentor teacher, provided both emotional support and thought-provoking inquiries, lighting my path ahead. I served as a middle school teacher and a BTSA teacher before discovering a passion for student-led, collaborative learning and educational technology at Skyline Elementary School. In my first year, I was honored‚ÄĒand humbled‚ÄĒto receive the Teacher-of-the-Year Award by the PTA. The next year, I was privileged to participate in a Genentech Futurelab project to help bring science instruction to life. Outside the classroom, my interests include travel, ancient sites, and museums. I also enjoy outdoor adventures and horticulture. My students‚Äô Garden Club earned a Kent Award, an award highlighting innovation in San Mateo County schools. Whether in or out of the classroom, I believe that as a TEAM, Together Everyone Achieves Miracles!