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Planets

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Planets

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to identify the planets in Earth’s solar system and their position in relation to the Sun.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that there are recognizable patterns in the natural world and among objects in the sky.

Science Background

Lunar and Planetary Science: National Space Science Data Center (website) - Detailed fact sheets and accompanying images for each planet in our solar system.

Lunar and Planetary Science
National Space Science Data Center, nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Solar System: National Geographic (website) - Interactive diagram of the solar system that provides basic information and a sense of distance and physical scale.

Solar System
National Geographic, www.nationalgeographic.com

An Overview of the Solar System: Nine Planets (website) - Tables, pictures and descriptions about the solar system. See the links for each planet at the bottom of the webpage.

An Overview of the Solar System
Nine Planets, www.nineplanets.org

Signature Lesson

Scale Distances in the Solar System: McDonald Observatory (PDF) - Students learn to identify the planets in Earth’s solar system and their relative positions by making a scale model on a strip of paper.

Scale Distances in the Solar System
The University of Texas McDonald Observatory, www.mcdonaldobservatory.org

Supporting Lessons

Build A Solar System: Exploratorium (website) – Students use an online calculator to create a scale model of the solar system on a roll of toilet paper or a tape measure.

Build A Solar System
Exploratorium, www.exploratorium.edu

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

A Scale Model of the Solar System using Play-Doh: NASA (website) - Students shape and arrange balls of Play-Doh into a scale model of our solar system.

A Scale Model of the Solar System using Play-Doh
NASA, www.nasa.gov

Assessment Ideas

Provide students with slips of paper, each with one planet name written on it. Have students arrange the planets in their proper order, starting from the Sun, and at proportionally correct distances.

Literature Connections

Our Solar System (revised edition). Simon S. ISBN: 978-0061140082

Solar System. Vogt G. (ISBN: 978-0545382670)

13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System. Aguilar D. (ISBN: 978-1426307706)

Related Science TEKS

(3.8C) Sun, Earth and Moon
The student is expected to construct models that demonstrate the relationship of the Sun, Earth, and Moon, including orbits and positions.

Related Math TEKS

3.11.A The student is expected to use linear measurement tools to estimate and measure lengths using standard units.

3.15.A The student is expected to describe activities that take approximately one second, one minute, and one hour.

Additional Resources

Solar System Size Scale Model Demo: McDonald Observatory (PDF) - Use this downloadable reference sheet to create a demonstration using a basketball, volleyball, etc. to show relative sizes of the planets.

Solar System Size Scale Model Demo
The University of Texas McDonald Observatory, www.mcdonaldobservatory.org

Photojournal: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (website) - Huge collection of downloadable, high-resolution images of the planets.

Photojournal
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, jpl.nasa.gov

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Comments

Heather Domjan

The link to the signature lesson is not working.

March 14, 2012, 1:21 PM
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