Georgia Performance Standards Framework for Science Grade 6. Unit Organizer: UNIVERSE AND SOLAR SYSTEM (Approximate Time 3 Weeks)

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1 The following instructional plan is part of a GaDOE collection of Unit Frameworks, Performance Tasks, examples of Student Work, and Teacher Commentary. Many more GaDOE approved instructional plans are available by using the Search Standards feature located on GeorgiaStandards.Org. Unit Organizer: UNIVERSE AND SOLAR SYSTEM (Approximate Time 3 Weeks) OVERVIEW: The scientific view of the solar system is essential to students understanding the dynamics of processes that shape the Earth. This unit requires understanding of how scientific theories of the solar system and universe have changed. This unit also describes gravity as the force that shapes and drives the universe. STANDARDS ADDRESSED IN THIS UNIT Focus Standards: S6E1. Students will explore current scientific views of the universe and how those views evolved. a. Relate the Nature of Science to the progression of basic historical scientific models (geocentric, heliocentric) as they describe our solar system, and the Big Bang as it describes the formation of the universe. b. Describe the position of the solar system in the Milky Way galaxy and the universe. c. Compare and contrast the planets in terms of Size relative to the earth Surface and atmospheric features Relative distance from the sun Ability to support life e. Explain that gravity is the force that governs the motion in the solar system. f. Describe the characteristics of comets, asteroids, and meteors. Supporting Standards: S6E4. Students will understand how the distribution of land and oceans affects climate and weather. a. Demonstrate that land and water absorb and lose heat at different rates and explain the resulting effects on weather patterns. b. Relate unequal heating of land and water surfaces to form large global wind systems and weather events such as tornados and thunderstorms. d. Relate how moisture evaporating from the oceans affects the weather patterns and weather events such as hurricanes. January 2007 Page 1 of 7

2 ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS Students will understand that: Observational evidence caused the model of the solar system to be changed from one in which the sun and planets orbit the Earth to one in which the Earth and planets orbit the sun. The Big Bang is a theory of how the universe began. The sun is a medium-sized star located near the edge of a disk-shaped galaxy of stars (Milky Way), part of which can be seen as a glowing band of light that spans the sky on a very clear night. The planets of our solar system differ in size, composition (rock or gas), surface and atmospheric features, and distance from the sun. Planets move around the sun in nearly circular orbits. The Earth is the only body in the solar system that appears to be able to support life. The motion of an object is always judged with respect to some other object or point, so the idea of absolute motion or rest is misleading. Comets and asteroids are objects smaller than planets that orbit the sun and vary in size, composition, and characteristics. Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the sun and governs the rest of the motion in the solar system. ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: TOPICAL ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS How does the current model of the solar system differ from past models? How does the Earth differ from the other planets? Why does a star look different if you move from place to place? How could you tell a planet from a star if you look at the same constellations over several nights? How are asteroids and comets different? January 2007 Page 2 of 7

3 Why don't you float off in space when you are on the Earth? Why do planets never leave the solar system or fall into the Sun? Can we see our own galaxy in the night sky? Explain. KNOWLEDGE: Scientific theories change when scientists discover new information. Prior to the 1500's it was believed that the earth was the center of the planets (geocentric model). Copernicus first suggested the heliocentric system, where the sun is at the center of the planets. With the use of telescopes, Galileo confirmed the heliocentric system. The Big Bang Theory states that the universe formed about billion years ago through a huge explosion. The universe continues to expand rapidly. Our solar system is a single star system, but is located in the Milky Way Galaxy, which contains other single stars, double stars, star systems, and dust and gas. The Milky Way Galaxy is one of billions of galaxies in the universe. The planets are divided into two groups. The inner planets are smaller, closer to the sun, and have rocky surfaces, while the outer planets are larger, farther from the sun and do not have solid surfaces. Inertia and gravity combine to keep the planets in orbit. The mass of an object and the distance between objects determine the force of gravity. Comets, chunks of ice and dust, revolve around the sun with very, very elliptical orbits. Asteroids are smaller than planets and are found orbiting the Sun between Jupiter and Mars. Meteoroids are a chuck of rock or dust found in space, and usually come from a comet or asteroid. CONCEPTS: Gravity, Nature and History of Science, relative position/distance, motion January 2007 Page 3 of 7

4 LANGUAGE: Geocentric vs. heliocentric models, Big Bang, Milky Way, planetary motion, gravitation force, gravitational attraction, inner planets, outer planets, meteors, comets, asteroids, asteroid belts, revolution vs. rotation, relative distance, relative position, MISCONCEPTIONS The stars in the constellations are close together in space. When all of the planets line up, the gravitational pull will cause an earthquake or disaster, or will cause the end of the world. The Big Bang describes the origin of the solar system. We could easily go to another planet and live. We could grow plants in the soil on Mars. The face on Mars means that ancient civilizations lived there. PROPER CONCEPTIONS The stars are very, very far apart and only appear to lie close to one another because we are so far from them. The gravitational attractions of the planets, either individually or as a group are so small because of the distances between the planets that they cannot possibly have a significant destructive effect on one another. The Big Bang is just one of several hypotheses that have been advanced to explain the origin of the entire universe. Traveling to another planet would require very large amounts of money, planning, and time, and would not be at all easy to do because of the expense and complexity of the operation. Very low temperatures and the lack of water should make Mars a hostile planet for any organism that has evolved in an Earth environment. The surface of Mars, like the surfaces of the other planets that we have observed appears to have been sculpted by some of the same forces that shape the surface of Earth (wind, moving liquids, meteorite and asteroid impacts, volcanic activity, and seismic events.) January 2007 Page 4 of 7

5 EVIDENCE OF LEARNING: By the conclusion of this unit, students should be able to demonstrate the following competencies: Culminating Activity: Universe And Solar System Culminating Activities Goal: Apply your knowledge of the types of objects and their arrangement in the solar system and universe. Role: You are a member of your 6th grade class, which is helping your school compete for a hosting the President for a nationally televised address on space. Audience: The selection team for the President s visit to a middle school, including educators and NASA scientists. Situation: The first space probe designed to reach stars outside our solar system, and eventually, the center of our galaxy, is to be announced by the President. The probe will study our solar system. Because the scientists who study those images will be from your generation, the President plans to announce the probe at a middle school. Your school is one of three being considered. To be chosen, students must use a variety of media to illustrate the probe s mission: scale models of planets and other objects and a short presentations explaining 1) the historical development of thinking regarding the motion of planets and other objects as well as the Big Bang theory, 2) the size, composition and relative location of each planet from the Sun., 3.) the question of how scientists might determine the likely presence of life in the distant solar system, 4.) and why the planets and other objects in the solar system remain in their orbits. Product: Part one: 1.) a comparison of a geocentric model and a heliocentric model of the solar system, 2.) a written plan, with dimensions and diagrams, showing the planet s size, and relative position from the Sun. 3.) an explanation of the asteroid, a comet, and meteors; 5.) an explanation of how gravity keeps objects in the solar system in their orbits, 6.) comparison of the planets in relation to their ability to support life. Part two: a presentation in oral, poster, or electronic format on the requirements in Part One. Standard: See rubric January 2007 Page 5 of 7

6 Scientific Information Plan of scale models Effects of Gravity on the Solar System Solar System Models Life presentation Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors Universe and Solar System GRASPS Rubric The plan depicts models of planets, comets, accurately portraying their size relative to Earth and providing some detail on known surface features. Explains the role of gravity in holding the planets and other objects in their orbits. Also explains how gravity keeps objects on the surface of the earth. accurately describes how the motion of objects in the sky was explained before and after Copernicus; discusses the role of gravity in planetary motion; and depicts the Big Bang theory. accurately describes the features that make Earth hospitable to life and plausibly describes the preconditions for life to exist on other planets. Compares the meteors. Explains where these are located in the solar system. The plan depicts models of planets, comets, with minor inaccuracies in their size relative to Earth or inadequate detail on known surface features. Explain the role of gravity in holding planets and other objects in their orbits.. covers how the motion of objects in the sky was explained before and after Copernicus, discusses the role of gravity in planetary motion, and depicts the Big Bang theory, but with inaccuracies. incompletely describes the features that make Earth hospitable to life and the preconditions for life to exist on other planets. Compares the meteors. The plan depicts models of planets, comets, but with significant inaccuracies on their size relative to Earth or no information on known surface features. Explains the role of gravity in holding planets and other objects in their orbit with some errors. does not cover all of the motion topics, or contains major inaccuracies. contains some errors in describing the features that make Earth hospitable to life. Compares the meteors with some errors. The plan does not include all the specified planets, comets. Little or no evidence of the understanding of the role of gravity in holding planets and other objects in their orbit. does not cover all of the motion topics, and contains major inaccuracies. contains major errors in describing the features that make Earth hospitable to life. Shows little or no evidence of understanding the meteors. January 2007 Page 6 of 7

7 TASKS The collection of the following tasks represents the level of depth, rigor and complexity expected of all physical science students to demonstrate evidence of learning. Task: Description: Discussion, Suggestions for use: Possible Solution : SAMPLE OF STUDENT WORK January 2007 Page 7 of 7

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