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Lesson Title: Solar System Simulator
May 11, 2012

Unit: Earth and Space Science - Year of the Solar System

Grade Levels: 7-9

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

This online software generates views of the bodies of our planetary system at any date from any artificial or natural point of observation.

Students will:
• Investigate how to determine the relative position of the sun, planets and a number of planetary spacecraft using a simple Web-based program.
• Explore how planets change their position in space over time.

First page of Solar System Simulator

Lesson Guide
Solar System Simulator Lesson
[91KB PDF file]



Lesson Activities and Sequence

  1. 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

  2. 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

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
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.


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