Unit: Earth and Space Science  Year of the Solar System Grade Levels: 79 Connection To Curriculum: Science and Technology Teacher Prep Time: 1 hour Lesson Time Needed: 30 minutes Complexity Basic Keywords: planets, planet sizes, scale models, distances, modeling, orbits, sizes
Computer with Internet access

Description
This online software generates views of the bodies of our planetary system at any date from any artificial or natural point of observation.
Objectives
Students will:
• Investigate how to determine the relative position of the sun, planets and a number of planetary spacecraft using a simple Webbased program.
• Explore how planets change their position in space over time.
Lesson Guide
Solar System Simulator Lesson
[91KB PDF file]
Lesson Activities and Sequence

Solar Pizza
This lesson can be combined with the Solar Pizza activity, which allows one to make a scale model of the Sun/Earth system (limited space).
Keywords: planets, scale models, distances, modeling, orbits, sizes 
The Schoolyard Solar System
This lesson can be combined with The Schoolyard Solar System, which allows one to make a scale model of the whole solar system (large space availability).
Keywords: planet sizes, distances, orbits, scale models
Science and Technology
• Abilities of technological design.
• Understanding about science and technology.
Earth and Space Science
• Earth in the solar system.
• Objects in the sky.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Number and Operations in Base Ten
• Perform operations with multidigit whole numbers and with decimals to hundredths.
Operations and Algebraic Thinking
• Generate and analyze patterns.
ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
Technology Operations and Concepts
• Understand and use technology systems.