Out of this World!

Today’s lesson allowed us to explore our solar system!  We learned about the eight planets in our solar system and how to remember their order using a mnemonic device (a tool to aid in remembering)– My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. 

Two scale models were explored to reinforce the vastness of space. The relative size of the eight planets was emphasized using spheres ranging in size from a marble (Mercury) to an exercise ball (Jupiter).  This helped us to get a better understanding of how the size of each planet compares to the others.  It was amazing to see just how big Jupiter is compared to all of the other planets!

To demonstrate the distances from the sun, we used the tape and laid the planets out to create a distance model.  Students were surprised to see how close the inner planets, or terrestrial planets, were to each other, and how spread out the Gas Giants are in addition to being so far from the sun.  We also discussed the “other stuff” in our solar system, like asteroid belts, comets, the Kuiper Belt and dwarf planets. On the topic of dwarf planets, we discussed the 3 criteria that need to be met in order for a celestial object to be called a planet: it must orbit the Sun, it must be big enough for gravity to pull it into a round ball, and its gravity must have
cleared other things out of its orbital path. Pluto meets 2 out of 3 of these criteria, which is why Pluto is no longer considered a planet., but rather, a dwarf planet!

6 Comments:

  • avatar
    rachel / Reply

    Its cool that the gas giants are so spread out ,then Jupiter being that big compared to Mercury !

    • avatar

      It is so cool how depending on where the planets are each one has its own amount of moons!

  • avatar

    I like how we learnd the rock song its very interseting

    • avatar
      Margaret Ptak / Reply

      I think you meant to post this in our next lesson posted in this blog. :)

  • avatar

    When our class did the lesson about the solar system we learned a lot of new things like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus , and Neptune are all gas planets. Also did you know that mercy is the smallest planet closet to the Sun?

  • avatar
    amelia / Reply

    I can’t believe that Mercury is small as a marble compared to Jupiter being the size as a exercise ball!! Also that the terrestrial planets were so close to each other.

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