Tabloid Science

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In this activity, learners analyze a fictionalized report of life on Mars, based on a real NASA satellite photo, and explore how to separate scientific fact from fiction. Learners practice using critical thinking to tell the difference between science and pseudoscience, and discover the role of photography—and its accurate, fact-based interpretation—in the study of planets beyond Earth. This activity can be found on pages 6-7 of the activity guide. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Worksheet: Message From Mars
  • pencils or pens
  • sheets of writing paper


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, TERC, 2007

Funding Sources:

  • NASA, NAS5-26555
  • National Science Foundation, NSF 9730728