Unit: Earth and Space Science - Year of the Solar System
Grade Levels: 7-9
Connection To Curriculum: Science, Mathematics and Technology
Teacher Prep Time: 3 hours
Lesson Time Needed: 3 hours
Keywords: planet sizes, planet comparisons, Earth vs. Mars, models, science process, scale, orbits, solar system, sun, sizes
Balloon (for the model sun)
1-centimeter gum balls
Model Planet Cards
Voyage of Discovery Worksheet
Pins or masking tape
Hard writing surface (to take outside)
This lesson allows students to visualize the comparative sizes and distances of solar system bodies by making solar system objects to scale using common objects, walking off the distances between planets and participating in a Web-based Sun/Earth scale model activity.
• Demonstrate the size of the sun and the bodies of the solar system on the ten-billionth scale.
• Construct and walk the distances between the bodies of the solar system on the ten-billionth scale.
• Compare the temperature, diameter and distance to the sun with familiar things on Earth.
Solar System Scale Models Lesson
[76KB PDF file]
Lesson Activities and Sequence
Exploring Planet Sizes
This activity looks at the sizes of the planets and takes place in the classroom. Students predict the size of Earth and Jupiter and find foods (like cereal, gum balls, etc.) that are about the size of each planet.
Keywords: planet sizes, comparisons, Earth as a peppercorn, edible
Walking Planet Distances
This activity requires the class to go outside to walk the distances between the planets.
Keywords: planets, scale models, distances, modeling, orbits, sizes
Students compare the temperature, diameter and distance to the sun with familiar things on Earth.
Keywords: planets, sizes, planet temperatures, sun, comparing planets, distances in space
Earth and Space Science
• Earth in the solar system.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Ratios and Proportional Relationships
• Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.
ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
Research and Information Fluency
• Process data and report results.
Technology Operations and Concepts
• Understand and use technology systems.