YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2016/2017



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The Martian
by Andy Weir


YAL Presenter Unit 2016/2017

Subjects: English, Science
Grade Level: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Posted: 2016, CCSS, Common Core State Standards
Unit Created by: Germania Solórzano and Steve Bonomo


YAL Conference Workshop Description
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving with The Martian
Germania Solórzano and Steve Bonomo, Presenters

The Martian follows astronaut Mark Watney’s struggle for survival as the sole human on Mars after his crew is forced to evacuate the planet and leave him behind, presumed dead. Faced with the overwhelming task of staying alive on Mars long enough for a rescue mission to retrieve him, Watney must leverage his botany and mechanical engineering skills to overcome obstacles never before faced by a human being, from procuring enough food and water to survive on a barren, lifeless planet to communicating with Earth hundreds of millions of miles away without functioning radio equipment.

Author Andy Weir not only describes Watney’s struggles and inventive problem-solving tactics, but invites readers to discover the underlying science behind them through Watney’s understandable and humor-infused explanations. Amidst challenges that draw upon many topics and experiments covered in the high school sciences, Watney’s journey provides a template for the critical thinking problem-solver: decomposing major issues into manageable pieces, brainstorming and analyzing several (seemingly) possible solutions, and making plenty of mistakes while learning critical lessons from them.

Workshop Description for YAL 2016



All of the items link to the Google folder with each of the documents listed below.


Unit Template


Lesson Plan


Atmospheric Thrust


Kitchen Science


Poster Slides