Exploring Mars: Spirit and Opportunity

Lesson 5


Unit 4

5th Grade

Lesson 5 of 33


Explain what the team did to prepare Spirit for the trip and why they were worried.

Readings and Materials

  • Book: The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch  pp. 20 – 23

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Target Task

Writing Prompt

Read the quote from p. 22. 

“We had done our best to prepare her for the dangers she would face, but had we done enough?” 

Explain what the team did to prepare Spirit for the trip. Make sure to include how the team used the engineering and design process. Despite their preparations, why were they worried? 

Sample Response

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Key Questions

  • Why were the rovers named Spirit and Opportunity
  • The scientists refer to Spirit as “her” and Opportunity as “him.” What do the pronouns reveal about the way the team feels about the rovers? What other evidence does the author include to show the way the team feels about the rovers? 
  • Explain what is happening in the picture on p. 21. What point from the text does the picture reinforce? How does it connect with the engineering and design process? 
  • The author uses a strategy of asking questions. Identify a place in the text where the author asks questions. Explain the effect it has on a reader. Why would the author use this strategy? 
  • Steve refers to the six months of flight as the “scariest stages of a mission.” What evidence does the author include to support this statement?




an object that sends out radio or television signals



to do something well or badly

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Common Core Standards

  • RI.5.3 — Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

Supporting Standards

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