Related Standards and Background Information

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1 Related Standards and Background Information Earth Patterns, Cycles and Changes This strand focuses on student understanding of patterns in nature, natural cycles, and changes that occur both quickly and slowly over time. An important idea represented in this strand is the relationship among Earth patterns, cycles, and change and their effects on living things. The topics developed include noting and measuring changes, weather and seasonal changes, the water cycle, cycles in the Earth-moon-sun system, our solar system, and change in Earth s surface over time. This strand includes science standards K.9, K.10, 1.7, 2.7, 3.8, 3.9, 4.7, 4.8, and The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include a) the planets in the solar system; b) the order of the planets in the solar system; and c) the relative sizes of the planets. Understanding the Standard: Solar System This standard focuses on providing an introduction to our solar system. This includes the introduction to the planets in the solar system, their order in the solar system in relation to the sun, and the sizes of the planets in relation to the size of Earth. A more in-depth study of the solar system is in standard 6.8. It is intended that students will actively develop and utilize scientific investigation, reasoning, and logic skills (4.1) in the context of the key concepts presented in this standard. Pre SOL None Lab Focus Post SOL None While learning the content of this standard students will design their own models and experiments covering SOL 4.1 l, m. 4.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which l) models are constructed to clarify explanations, demonstrate relationships, and solve needs; and m) current applications are used to reinforce science concepts. Students must: construct a simple model of the sun and the planets in our solar system.

2 Overview Our solar system is ancient. Early astronomers believed that Earth was the center of the universe and all other heavenly bodies orbited around Earth. We now know that our sun is the center of our solar system and eight planets, a handful of dwarf planets, 170 named moons, dust, gas, and thousands of asteroids and comets orbit around the sun. Our solar system is made up of eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are considered terrestrial planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are called gas giants. Mercury is closest to the sun and is a small, heavily cratered planet. Mercury looks like our moon. Since Pluto s reclassification from planet to dwarf planet, Mercury is now the smallest planet in our solar system. Venus is second from the sun. It is similar to Earth in size and mass, and has a permanent blanket of clouds that trap so much heat that the temperatures on the surface of Venus are hot enough to melt lead. Earth is third from the sun. Earth s atmosphere, the liquid water found on Earth, and its distance from the sun, among many other factors, make Earth a haven for life. Mars is fourth from the sun. The atmosphere on Mars is thin and there is a vast network of canyons and riverbeds on the red planet. Scientists hypothesize that Mars once supported a wet, warm Earth-like climate. Jupiter is fifth from the sun. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and is considered a gas giant. Jupiter has no solid surface. Saturn is sixth from the sun. Early scientists thought Saturn was the only planet with rings, but we now know that all four gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) have rings. Uranus is seventh from the sun. Uranus is a gas giant. Neptune is eighth from the sun. Neptune appears blue through telescopes and is a gas giant. Essential Knowledge, Skills and Processes In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will name the eight planets and describe whether they are a terrestrial planet or a gas giant. sequence the eight planets in the solar system based on their position from the sun. (Mercury is the first from the sun, Venus is the second, etc.) sequence the eight planets in the solar system based on size (Jupiter is the largest, Saturn is next, etc.) construct a simple model of the sun and the planets in our solar system.

3 The eight planets sorted by size from largest to smallest are: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Earth, Venus, Mars, and Mercury. Pluto is no longer included in the list of planets in our solar system due to its small size and irregular orbit. Many astronomers questioned whether Pluto should be grouped with worlds like Earth and Jupiter. In 2006, this debate led the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the recognized authority in naming heavenly objects, to formally reclassify Pluto. On August 24, 2006, Pluto's status was officially changed from planet to dwarf planet. A new distinct class of objects called "dwarf planets" was identified in It was agreed that "planets" and "dwarf planets" are two distinct classes of objects. The first members of the dwarf planet category are Ceres, Pluto and 2003 UB313, given the name Eris. More dwarf planets are expected to be announced by the IAU in the future. What differentiates a dwarf planet from a planet? For the most part, they are identical, but there is one key difference: A dwarf planet has not "cleared the neighborhood" around its orbit, which means it has not become gravitationally dominant and it shares its orbital space with other bodies of a similar size. Pluto is smaller than seven of the moons in our solar system and cannot be seen without a telescope. Science Vocabulary asteroid -- a large rock in outer space that orbits the sun (Many asteroids are found in an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.) astronomer -- a scientist who studies and observes space atmosphere -- the gases that surround a planet comet -- a frozen chunk of ice, dust, and gases that orbits the sun (When near the sun, a tail of gas and dust particles form pointing away from the sun.) dwarf planet -- a celestial body that orbits the sun and is massive enough to assume a nearly spherical (round) shape, but does not clear other bodies from the neighborhood around its orbit and is not a satellite of a planet gas giant -- a large planet made of gases (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) gravitational pull -- The attraction that one object has for another object due to the invisible force of gravity. The gravitational pull of the sun causes the Earth to revolve (orbit) around it. The gravitational pull of the Earth causes the moon to revolve (orbit) around it. inner planets -- the planets closest to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) moon -- a natural satellite of a planet because it orbits the planet (Planets with moons: Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.) orbit -- path an object takes when revolving around another object outer planets -- the planets farthest from the sun (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune)

4 satellite -- a natural or manmade object that revolves (orbits) another object of larger size solar system -- a star and all the satellites that orbit it sun -- the central star in our solar system star -- a large ball of glowing gas that gives off thermal (heat) and radiant (light) energy terrestrial planets -- planets made of rocks (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) Planets (ordered from Planet Facts the sun) Inner Planets (Terrestrial Planets) Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus The smallest planet in our solar system, Mercury is less than half the size of Earth. It is the closest to the sun and is a small, heavily cratered terrestrial planet. It only takes Mercury 88 days to revolve around the sun. During the day, Mercury is hotter than the hottest desert on Earth (daytime high of 427 Celsius). At night it is colder than Antarctica (night low of 184 Celsius). Mercury is a terrestrial planet because it is made of rock. The second planet from the sun, Venus is a terrestrial planet. It has a permanent blanket of clouds that traps so much heat that the temperatures on its surface can melt lead. It is sometimes called the Earth s twin because it is about the same size as Earth. Venus rotates so slowly that a day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus. The third planet from the sun is also the largest of the inner planets. Earth s atmosphere, the liquid water, and its distance from the sun makes Earth a haven for life. The Earth has one moon. Earth is a terrestrial planet. Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and is a terrestrial planet. Its atmosphere is thin. There is a vast network of canyons and riverbeds. It is known as the red planet. Scientists hypothesize that Mars once supported a wet, warm Earth-like climate. Mars has two moons. Outer Planets (Gas Giants) Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun. It is the largest planet in the solar system and is considered a gas giant. Jupiter has no solid surface. Jupiter is so large that all the other planets together could fit inside it easily. Winds move clouds around its atmosphere at high speeds. Scientists think that the Great Red Spot on Jupiter is a storm. Jupiter has 63 moons and a system of at least three thin rings. Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in the solar system. Saturn is a gas giant. At one time, scientists thought that Saturn was the only planet with rings. They now know that all four gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) have rings. Saturn has 61 moons. The seventh planet from the sun, Uranus is a gas giant. Uranus has a system of at least 13 rings and at least 27 moons. Neptune The eighth planet from the sun, Neptune appears blue through a telescope and is a gas giant. Neptune has dark spots on it that scientists think are storms. Neptune has a system of at least 5 rings and has at least 13 moons.

5 What about Pluto? Pluto is no longer included in the list of planets in our solar system due to its small size and irregular orbit. August 24, 2006, Pluto s status was officially changed from planet to dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Pluto is smaller than seven moons in our solar system and cannot be seen without a telescope. If Pluto is a dwarf planet are there others? Other dwarf planets include Ceres and UB313, given the name Eris. What is the difference between dwarf planets and planets? A dwarf planet has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit, which means it has not become gravitationally dominant, and it shares its orbital space with other bodies of similar size. Planets Smallest to Largest Mercury Mars Venus Earth Neptune Uranus Saturn Jupiter Planets Largest to Smallest Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Earth Venus Mars Mercury

6 Big Idea Questions Why do we call our system a solar system? Name the eight planets of the solar system in order. Tell whether each planet is a terrestrial planet or a gas giant. Think about the distance of each planet from the sun. How would you describe the position number of Mercury compared to Earth? or Jupiter? or Neptune? etc.? Think about the size of each of our planets. Name eight objects you could use to compare their sizes, and put them in order, labeling them from largest to smallest. Order and label them smallest to largest.

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