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Objective: To research a planet in our solar system and design a travel brochure to get future travelers to visit that planet.

Grade Level: 5-8
Subject(s): Science, Technology, Language Arts, Art
Prep Time: < 10 minutes
Duration: Overnight/Extended
Materials Category: Special

National Education Standards
Science
Earth and Space Science
        Structure of the Earth system

Technology
Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity and promote creativity.
Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications and produce other creative works.
Students use technology to locate, evaluate and collect information from a variety of sources.
Materials:
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Glue and/or tape
  • Student Page
Pre-lesson Instructions
  • Have students work in groups of two to four to complete the brochure assignment. There will be 10 groups in all, one group per planet and one group assigned to Earth's Moon.
  • Reserve time in your school's library and computer lab to allow students to complete the necessary research for this project.
Background Information

Many science fiction stories involve everyday people traveling in space. Right now, that privilege is reserved for trained astronauts and robotic devices. And for now, most of that exploration, at least the human component of it, is occurring only in low Earth orbit. That will be changing soon.

In January 2004, the President of the United States announced that America would send people back to the Moon and then on to Mars and farther out into the solar system. This exploration will occur in the next few decades. Before long, some of the things that we see today as being science fiction will be happening as science fact.

To help prepare future explorers to other planets, your class will be creating travel brochures to lure adventurous travelers to other planets in our solar system.

Guidelines
  1. Explain that the class will work in groups to create travel brochures for different planets in our solar system. This will include all nine planets and Earth's Moon. (Explain that Earth is included because as we begin to explore and live on other planets, settlers on those planets will not consider Earth as their home. They can visit Earth as a vacation.)

  2. Place the students into 10 groups. Assign each group a planet (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). Assign the remaining group Earth's Moon.

  3. Distribute the Student Pages and go over the procedure as a class. You may also want to go over the grading rubric with the students so they are aware of what is expected of them on this project.

  4. Allow one to two class periods for research on the Internet and in the library. Then allow one to two class periods for the students to design and assemble their travel brochures. One day will be needed for the students to present their brochure to the class.
Discussion/Wrap-up
  • Have students share their brochures with the class. If desired, grade the brochures using the rubric that is provided.
  • Discuss the differences in the destinations. Talk about the real possibilities of traveling to these planets in the future.
Extensions
  • Show the class examples of travel posters and have them design such a poster with their destinations in mind.
  • Have students design a building or colony that could be used on their destinations. Account for any differences in temperatures, gravity, etc.


Planet Brochure Rubric


Category
4
3
2
1
Title
The title can be read clearly and is creative. The title can be read clearly and describes the content well. The title can be read clearly but is not creative. The title is too small and/or does not describe the content of the project well.
Content
At least seven accurate facts are displayed on the brochure. Five or six accurate facts are displayed on the brochure. Three or four accurate facts are displayed on the brochure. Fewer than three accurate facts are displayed on the brochure.
Graphics
All of the graphics used on the project reflect an exceptional degree of student creativity in the creation and display. One or two of the graphics used on the brochure reflect student creativity in the creation and display. The graphics are made by the student, but are based on the designs or ideas of others. No graphics made by the student are included.
Attractiveness
The brochure is exceptionally attractive in terms of design, layout and neatness. The brochure is attractive in terms of design, layout and neatness. The brochure is acceptably attractive though it may be a bit messy. The brochure is distractingly messy or very poorly designed. It is not attractive.
Grammar
There are no grammatical mistakes on the brochure. There is one grammatical mistake on the brochure. There are two grammatical mistakes on the brochure. There are more than two grammatical mistakes on the brochure.

 
Total points out of a possible 20 points: ________________________________



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