Solar System


Solar System (3rd-8th)

This lesson provides an overview of the objects that make up our solar system, with an emphasis on modeling the scale of both the sizes of objects and distances between them. Students will challenge their assumptions about the scale of our Solar System by building models in order to begin to visualize how much of space is really just . . . vast, empty space. They will use two separate models, one for relative size and one for relative distance, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each.

SKU: EarSci-SolSys Category: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Lesson Overview

Students will:

  • Review of what is in our Solar System a model of planet relative sizes
  • Construct a relative distance model of the Solar System 
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these models
  • Use the models they created as a basis for asking and thinking about other questions

Lesson Objectives 

Students will:

  • Use provided data to build a relative distance model of the solar system 
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of two different models used to represent the solar system

This lesson is aligned with these Next Generation Science (NGS) Standards.

Standards Covered

Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI)

ESS1 Earth’s Place in the Universe

  • (6th-8th) ESS1.A The Universe and its Stars – The solar system is part of the Milky Way, which is one of many billions of galaxies. 
  • (6th-8th) ESS1.B Earth and the Solar SystemThe solar system contains many varied objects held together by gravity. Solar system models explain and predict eclipses, lunar phases, and seasons.

Science & Engineering Practice (SEP) 

Developing and Using Models 

  • (3rd-5th) Evaluate limitations of a model for a proposed object or tool; Develop and/or use models to describe and/or predict phenomena.
  • (6th-8th) Identify limitations of models; Develop a model to describe unobservable mechanisms.

Crosscutting Concept (CCC)

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

  • (3rd-5th) Natural objects and/or observable phenomena exist from the very small to the immensely large or from very short to very long time periods. 
  • (6th-8th) Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small.

Systems and System Models

  • (6th-8th) Models are limited in that they only represent certain aspects of the system under study.
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