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Lesson Title: How Does Earth Compare?
 Unit: Earth and Space Science - Planetology Grade Levels: 7-9 Connection To Curriculum: Earth Science and Astronomy Teacher Prep Time: 1.0 hour Complexity Basic Materials: Part 1 - Exploring Planet Sizes Balloon (for the sun model) Miniature marshmallows Poppy seeds Mustard seeds Circle-shaped cereal Popcorn kernels Dried peas 1-centimeter gum balls Black pepper Glue Model planet cardsPart 2 - Walking Planet Distances Pins or masking tape Pencil Hard writing surface (to take outdoors)Part 3 Internet access

Description
This lesson combines a series of activities to compare models of the size of Earth to other planets and the distances to other planets. Activities highlight space missions to other planets in our solar system.

Objectives
Students will:
• Use models to compare sizes of planets and measure the distances of the planets from the sun.
• Describe the different space missions to other planets in our solar system.

Lesson Guide
How Does Earth Compare? Lesson
[117KB PDF file]

Professional Development Training Module for This Lesson

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Lesson Activities and Sequence

1. Exploring Planet Sizes
Students investigate planetary sizes by using models to represent planets in our solar system. (Page 30)
2. Earth, Moon, Mars Balloons Activity
Construct a scale model of the Earth-Moon-Mars system in terms of planetary size and discover how far one might have to travel to get to the moon or Mars.
3. Walking the Planet Distances
Students walk the distances among planets using meter measurements.
4. Solar System Missions
Students research recent discoveries about our solar system using NASA Internet sites.
National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Earth and Space Science
• Origin and evolution of the earth system.
• Structure of the earth system.
• Earth in the solar system.

History and Nature of Science
• Science as a human endeavor.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Ratios and Proportional Relationships
• Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.

Expressions and Equations
• Understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines and linear equations.

U.S. National Geography Standards, NCGE
The World in Spatial Terms
• How to use mental maps to organize information about people, places and environments on the Earth's surface.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products or processes.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
• Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator