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Planet Hopping: Exploring the Solar System with Mathematics

Target Audience
  • Students
Hosting Center(s)
  • Langley Research Center
  • Dryden Flight Research Center
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Kennedy Space Center
Subject Category
  • Physical Science
  • Math
Unit Correlation
  • Exploring Space
Grade Level
  • 03
  • 04
  • 05
  • 06
  • 07
  • 08
Minimum Delivery Time
  • 060 min(s)
Maximum Connection Time
  • 080 min(s)

Event Focus

How does the mass of each planet in our solar system relate to gravitational force?

 

Description

This module is appropriate for video conference AND web conference at Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

 

This module is appropriate for video conference AND web conference (ConferenceME ONLY) at Langley Research Center (LaRC).

 

How high can you jump on Mars? Which planet has the most moons? Find out the answers to these questions and many more as you tour the solar system with a NASA Education Specialist. In this highly interactive session, students will use mathematics to explore and learn characteristics of the planets in our solar system.

 

Instructional Objectives

As students hop through the Solar System, the student will:

 

Engage

 

Learners will describe what they know about the solar system.

Learners will explain the differences between matter, mass and gravity.

Learners will determine how mathematics can be used to determine planetary jump heights.

Explore

Learners will hypothesize which planet they can jump the highest and lowest

Learners will calculate hypothetical jump heights on different planets

Explain

 

Learners will tell which planets are terrestrial and which are gas giants.

Learners will contribute to the discussion of planetary facts.

Elaborate

Learners will explain how the data supports the proposed hypothesis.

Evaluate

Learners will relate mass to gravitational force.

 
 

Sequence of Events

 

Pre-Conference Activities

 

How far away is most distant planet from the sun? By doing this activity, students will discover that it takes a long time to travel through our solar system. In the lesson, students use string to construct a distance scale model of the solar system. They will observe that the outer planets are much farther apart than the inner planets. To find out more about the lesson, Modeling Orbits in Our Solar System, please go to http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/educ/docs/modelingsolarsystem.pdf

 

Materials

 

Please download the Planet Hopping fact sheet located at the url listed below. Each student should have a copy of this sheet for the video conference.

 

Grades 3-4

Planet Hopping on Terrestrial Planets Only               

 

Grades 5-8

Planet Hopping Worksheet with Equations               

 

Meter sticks and calculators should also be available for at least each group of three students.

 

Videoconference Activities

 

During this highly interactive event, students will physically  simulate hopping around the solar system. They begin by determining how high they can jump on Earth. Using those measurements, the students calculate how high they can jump on other planets. Join the DLN as we hop from planet to planet.

 

Materials

Please download the Planet Hopping fact sheet located at the url listed in the pre-conference activities. Each student should have a copy of this sheet for the video conference.

 

Post-Conference Activities

 

Do other stars besides our own sun have planets orbiting around them? NASA's Space Interferometry Mission cannot see the planets of nearby stars but can take measurements that indicate if a planet is present. In this simple hands-on activity, Looking for Planets Without Seeing Them, students will discover how NASA finds new planets beyond our solar system. http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/resources/pq_activity_guide.pdf

 

Standards

 

National Science Content Standards

 

Grades 3-5

 

* The student will develop an understanding of properties and motion of objects

Grades 6-8

 

* The student will develop an understanding of motions and forces

 

 

National Math Content Standards

 

Grades 3-5

 

* The student will formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them

Grades 6-8

 

* The student will understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems

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Page Last Updated: August 29th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator