Fun and engaging solar system lesson! Two solar system research activities are included. The first research activity covers the size and gravity of all the planets and the dwarf planet Pluto as compared to earth. The second covers other celestial bodies in our solar system with focus on their makeup and if water and / or oxygen are present. The four main moons of Jupiter are covered along with Earth’s moon, asteroids, and comets. Each research activity includes a short answer deeper thinking question.
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Solar system - Growing Bundle
A fun foldable perfect for interactive notebooks is also included. The student foldable covers Jupiter’s moon Europa and the possibility that life could exist there. Students answer questions and use drawings to support their answer. Pouch style foldable allows easy access to the information for later study or review. This lesson allows you to cover the Next Generation Science Standards covering our solar system in an engaging way.
I use this lab with my middle school students to enrich my solar system unit and to cover several key concepts: internet research, solar system concepts like gravity and mass of other planets, places in the solar system where water is found, the possibility of life elsewhere in the solar system, asteroids, comets, meteoroids, meteorites, and the difference between the two.
Addresses many common core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Works well with interactive notebooks! The life on Europa foldable is sized for interactive notebooks or science journals, and the research charts could be cut out and used with interactive notebooks if desired. Bundle includes: a detailed description for teachers of how I’ve used these activities in my class, two student research charts, student foldables, full teacher key for every activity, student example of interactive notebook entry, and links to web based resources and videos as enrichment. All fonts used to create the lesson are included and are 100% free so you can use them to create your own products, even lessons you plan to sell on TPT! Lesson was created for elementary and middle school students and reinforces many English language arts common core standards (such as: “Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context”).
Approximately two to three class periods in length (as a point of reference, I teach a 50-minute class). I generally allow my students to use computers, iPads, or smart phones to do the research and I complete both research charts and the foldable in three days.
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If you're currently teaching a solar system unit you might enjoy my gravity lab that covers the importance of gravity in the solar system.
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Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) addressed in this lesson:
ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System
The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons, and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them.
This standard is covered when students research the gravitational forces of other planets as compared to earth. This standard is further met when students research the possibility of life on Europa and how the gravitational forces of Jupiter play a role in that possibility.
For my fellow Texans:
This lab covers the following TEKS:
(11) Earth and space. The student understands the organization of our solar system and the relationships among the various bodies that comprise it. The student is expected to:
(A) Describe the physical properties, locations, and movements of the Sun, planets, Galilean moons, meteors, asteroids, and comets;
(B) Understand that gravity is the force that governs the motion of our solar system
This TEK is met when students research the gravity and masses of planets in our solar system, the properties of the Galilean moons, meteoroids, meteorites, asteroids, and comets.
(9) Earth and space. The student knows components of our solar system. The student is expected to:
(A) analyze the characteristics of objects in our solar system that allow life to exist such as the proximity of the Sun, presence of water, and composition of the atmosphere.
This TEK is met when students research Europa and discover the attributes that may allow life to exist there, including liquid water below the frozen surface, a very thin atmosphere that has some oxygen, and the influence of Jupiter’s gravity on Europa.
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