How did the formation of our solar system occur? Well, since no one was there, we can't say for sure. But scientists have combined the laws of the universe with what we know our solar system is made of, and put together a step-by-step sequence of likely events that caused the solar system formation.
This 4-part lesson walks slowly through each step in the solar system formation using cause-and-effect style, so that at the end, your students will fully understand that the formation of our solar system was NOT random, but a beautiful chain of events.
What we believe now is that the formation of the solar system began with something called a protostellar disk, in which a nebula started spinning, compressing, and collapsing due to a nearby force. The causes and effects leading to the formation of the protostellar disk is covered in part one of this lesson.
In part two, we continue the solar system formation by taking the protostellar disk, and condense it until the heat and pressure reaches critical temperature for nuclear fusion to occur, and *poof* our sun is born!
Now that we have a sun, part three of this lesson covers the sequence of events leading to planetesimals. We'll examine how the leftover matter not part of the sun would have kept clumping into larger and larger bodies.
Finally, in part 4, planetesimals that undergo enough accretion (clumping of particles due to gravity) become planets (that's good news for us Earthlings).
Feel free to make any changes you like to this PowerPoint on the formation of the solar system to make it match your book, or more understandable to your students.
Key terms: solar system formation, protostellar disk, gravity, force, nebula, sun, energy, heat, planetesimals, accretion, planet