**Our Solar System to Scale**

**PACE High School, Manhattan**

**Summer Research Program for Science Teachers**

**August 2008**

**
Duration:**
2 periods

**Aim:
**
How
massive is our Solar System and the planets within?

**
**

·
Students
will be able to calculate the diameter of planets to a smaller scale

·
Students
will be able to calculate the distance from the sun to each planet to scale.

· Students will understand how massive the planets are and the vastness of the solar system.

**
Materials: **
Lab sheet, Planet Guides,
chart paper, colored paper, scissors, compasses, metric rulers, markers,
pencils, glue

**Procedure:**

**Bell Ringer- **

What are
the three characteristics which make a planet a planet?

*
1.
**
Planets
are massive enough to retain a spherical shape.*

*
2.
**
Planets
only revolve around the sun.*

*
3.
**
Planets
are in control of their own orbit.
They are not controlled by any other body but the Sun.*

Why is
Pluto no longer a planet?

*Pluto is controlled by
Neptune’s gravitational influence as well as the Sun’s.
It is now considered a ‘Dwarf Planet’.*

**Lab Introduction**

1.
Read
directions of Lab through Part A- Size of Planets.

2.
Each
student will complete the first of the two hypotheses.

3.
Practice
calculating the scale diameter the Moon.

7000km=1cm

Moon’s diameter 3, 746 km
7000 km

______________
=
_____________

X
1cm

7000km x
=
3746 km cm

Moon’s scale diameter
X
= 0.535 cm

X = 0.5 cm –
*to the nearest tenth.*

4.
Students
will be placed in cooperative pairs and will begin working on Procedure A while
teacher walks around for assistance.

**
Closure**

·
Students
will be asked to reflect upon their first hypothesis and briefly discuss as a
class.

·
Students
will be asked to calculate the scale the sun would be if they know the diameter
to be 1,394,000 km. They will then see how large the sun actually is compared to
the planets.

**
**

**
Outcome/Homework:**

Students
will complete Part A of Lab.
Students will also answer discussion questions that pertain to Part A if
they are done early or for homework if there is not enough time.

**
Next
day:**

·
Class
discussion about Part A of Lab and/or finish Part A.

·
Begin
Part B- Relative Distance of Planets.

**
New York State Standards**

**
Standard 4**: Performance Indicators 1.2a & 1.2c