The Martian Book Discussion Questions

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

Looking for intelligent, engaging science fiction for your class? Assign 'The Martian,' then help your students think through the novel and formulate personal reflections with these discussion questions.

The Martian

Andy Weir's novel The Martian is a thrilling survival story of an astronaut stranded on Mars working to survive on his wits and his mission supplies. With equal portions of humor and science, this novel would make a great read for a high school class. After reading, spend some time with these discussion questions.

Questions About the Story

  • Mark began to write his mission logs almost immediately upon realizing he was stranded. Why did he bother with logs that might never be read?
  • What character traits might someone need to go on a Mars mission like the Ares missions?
  • What resources does Mark use to stay alive? How was he prepared for the mission physically and mentally?
  • How do things change for Mark once he finds the Pathfinder? How does he handle the switch from solitude to stardom?
  • What insight do you gain from the Hermes crew's conversations with their families when they pass Earth?

Questions About Literary Elements

  • How does the detailed inclusion of scientific and mathematical details affect your appreciation of the novel?
  • While the novel gives many details of Mark's experience as well as the others on the Hermes and the people on the ground, much detail is also left out. Did any omissions surprise you? What information do you wish the author had included?
  • How does the author keep the reader's interest in a very technically detailed storyline?
  • There are different types of science fiction. How does The Martian compare with other science fiction you've read and watched? What do you like and dislike about this style of science fiction?

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