This series of lessons for science and mathematics classes (grades 3-12) looks at the planets in our solar system in a variety of different ways, beginning with astronomical modeling of orbits and sizes, then geologic modeling of planetary interiors, and concluding with biological evaluation of what makes planets livable by various creatures. Here you’ll learn about: Modeling Orbits in the Solar System. This lesson models the orbital distances between the planets and shows that the solar system is mostly empty space. Modeling Sizes of Planets. This lesson compares the relative sizes of the planets to those of familiar fruits and vegetables. It also uses size to calculate density and planet composition. Looking Inside Planets. This lesson involves modeling the interior structures of the planets and shows that the solid cores of the gas giants are similar in size to the Earth or Venus. Search for A Habitable Planet. This lesson looks at the characteristics of planets that make them livable, their temperature, and compositions of atmosphere and surface instead of size or orbit. Procedure: Teacher preparation: Collect materials and prepare 40-50 m knotted string for measuring. Select a location to lay out your solar system. This can be a hallway, gym or athletic field, but for the 1 m scale needs to be 40 m long (approximately 40 yards). Classroom Procedure: 1) Look at the list of diameters of planets and other planetary bodies, notice the size relationships. Which is the largest planet? Which is the smallest? Are some planets close to the same size?
source: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/ found via google pdf search
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