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1 Thank you for your purchase Please be sure to save a copy of this activity to your computer! This activity is copyrighted by AIMS Education Foundation. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced without written permission of AIMS, unless such reproduction is expressly permitted by federal copyright law, with the following exceptions: A person or school purchasing this AIMS activity is hereby granted permission to make up to 200 copies of any portion of it, provided these copies will be used for educational purposes and only at one school site. Workshop or conference presenters may make one copy of a purchased activity for each participant, with a limit of five activities per workshop or conference session. For unlimited duplication rights and current copyright information, please visit us at or call us at

2 Topic Planet order in the solar system Key Question As a team, how can we construct a model of planet order? Learning Goals Students will: use a collaborative approach to construct a twodimensional model that represents planet order in the solar system, make a scale model that represents planet order, and use a reading passage to collect information. Guiding Documents Project 2061 Benchmarks Make sketches to aid in explaining procedures or ideas. In something that consists of many parts, the parts usually influence one another. A system can include processes as well as things. NRC Standard Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. NCTM Standard 2000* Model problem situations with objects and use representations such as graphs, tables, and equations to draw conclusions Math Logical reasoning scale drawings of the planets construction paper, 12 x 18 inch Background Information The order of the planets in our solar system is frequently addressed in elementary Earth Science. The first four planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) are called the inner planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune make up the outer planets. An asteroid belt creates a dividing line between the inner and outer planets. Management 1. Make one set of clue cards for each group. Copy them on various colors, or mark the back of the cards to keep track of the different sets. 2. Let the students create a two-dimensional model of the order of the planets. 3. Make sure students have an understanding of inner and outer planets. Procedure 1. Ask the Key Question and state the Learning Goals. 2. Divide the class into teams of four. 3. Explain that each team member will have a card that he or she reads to the group. Other team members are not to read each other s cards, but they are to practice listening and then apply what they hear. 4. Have the students use the scaled planet drawings to construct a model of planetary order based on the collaborative clue cards. 5. After the students have constructed the model, have them label the inner and outer planets. 6. Discuss with the students the information obtained from their model. Science Earth science astronomy order of planets Integrated Processes Observing Sorting and classifying Collecting and recording data Interpreting data Inferring Materials For each four-member student group: individual student clue cards Connecting Learning 1. What are the eight planets that make up our solar system? 2. What is the order of the eight planets? 3. What are the planets that make up the inner planets? the outer planets? 4. How do scientists know this information? 5. How successful was your team in solving the problem? Were some clues more important than others? Explain. 6. Why do you think scientists divide the planets into these two groups? 7. What are you wondering now? * Reprinted with permission from Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, 2000 by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. All rights reserved. OUT OF THIS WORLD AIMS Education Foun da tion

3 Key Question As a team, how can we construct a model of planet order? Learning Goals use a collaborative approach to construct a two-dimensional model that represents planet order in the solar system, make a scale model that represents planet order, and use a reading passage to collect information. OUT OF THIS WORLD AIMS Education Foun da tion

4 JUPITER VENUS URANUS MARS NEPTUNE EARTH SATURN MERCURY OUT OF THIS WORLD AIMS Education Foun da tion

5 CLUE CARD 1 There are eight planets in our solar system. Neptune is the farthest planet from the sun. Mars is next to Jupiter. There are six planets between Mercury and Neptune CLUE CARD CLUE CARD 2 Mercury, Earth, Mars, and Venus are called the inner planets. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. The two largest planets are next to each other. There is one planet between Uranus and Jupiter CLUE CARD 4 The outer planets are Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. Mercury and Venus have no moons. Earth is the third planet from the sun. There is one planet between Venus and Mars. Mercury is the planet closest to the sun. Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system. Uranus is between Saturn and Neptune. Saturn is closer to Neptune than Earth. OUT OF THIS WORLD AIMS Education Foun da tion

6 Connecting Learning 1. What are the eight planets that make up our solar system? 2. What is the order of the eight planets? 3. What are the planets that make up the inner planets? the outer planets? 4. How do scientists know this information? 5. How successful was your team in solving the problem? Were some clues more important than others? Explain. 6. Why do you think scientists divide the planets into these two groups? 7. What are you wondering now? OUT OF THIS WORLD AIMS Education Foun da tion

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