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Lesson Title: Scale Models of the Solar System
 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 Complexity Moderate Keywords: planet sizes, planet comparisons, Earth vs. Mars, models, science process, scale, orbits, solar system, sun, sizes Materials: Balloon (for the model sun) Metric ruler Miniature marshmallows Poppy seeds Mustard seeds Circle-shaped cereal Popcorn kernels Dried peas 1-centimeter gum balls Black pepper Glue Model Planet Cards Voyage of Discovery Worksheet Pins or masking tape Pencil Hard writing surface (to take outside)

Description
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.

Objectives
Students will:
• 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.

Lesson Guide
Solar System Scale Models Lesson
[76KB PDF file]

Lesson Activities and Sequence

1. 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

2. 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

3. Solar Pizza
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
National Science Education Standards, NSTA
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.

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013