Solar System: A Look at the Planets

Science Object

Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NASA and NSTA, is the second of four Science Objects in the Solar System SciPack. It explores the similarities and differences in the planets that make up our solar system. Each planet moves around the Sun in the same direction in a nearly circular orbit, though each planet has its own unique orbital period and speed. The planets vary in size, surface and atmospheric composition, and surface features. In orbit around the planets, we find a great variety of moons, flat rings of rock and ice debris, and/or artificial satellites. Features of many of the planets and their moons show evidence of formation and evolutionary processes similar to those that occur on Earth. These processes include earthquakes, lava flows, erosion, and changes in the atmosphere.

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Reviews (23)
  • on Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:35 PM

I LOVED this! It was such an awesome way to refresh and learn on a certain subject. This was mandatory for my class, but when I become a teacher and have a unit coming up that I am not completely familiar with, this will be a good tool to use. I love how it had it all broken up into folders with easily identifiable titles. It was Easy to read, and it had plenty of quizzes and short answers/questions throughout to keep you refreshed. All in all, I loved this very much, and will continue to use these.

Madison Gentry  (Cookeville, TN)
Madison Gentry (Cookeville, TN)

  • on Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:28 PM

I found this to interesting and helpful

Judy Avellaneda
Judy Avellaneda

  • on Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:39 PM

A Look at the Planets Taking a closer look at the Science Object on Planets really intrigued me. It was interesting to learn that J. Titius observed a pattern for the five known planets from which he created a formula for to calculate planetary orbits. Just as Kepler and Newton’s work intrigued him; his work intrigued the interest of others such as William Herschel who discovered a new planet in 1781 called the Georgium Sidus.; one that I had never heard of actually. I learned that Georgium Sidus was renamed Uranus, which is the name I am more familiar with. It’s amazing to think of the intelligence of mankind and how their interest led them to develop Spacecraft’s that would go as far as the moon successfully to get pictures for us to view that we would not ordinarily be able to see without Earth-based telescopes or robotic spacecraft’s . I had not really thought about just how similar Earth and Mars were until taking a closer look at both planets in the Science Pak. In looking at the Earth and Mars comparison made me realize why there have been quite a few visits there and will be many more. Hmmm interesting! We have come a long way since the early days of using naked eye observations and Earth bound telescopes. I’m curious to know the new discoveries 20 years from now.

Kizzy Amos
Kizzy Amos

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:00 PM

Space has always been an often curiosity to us from Earth. This science object shows that we have always been looking at the stars trying to figure out what is happening in science. I liked how this article shows how they ruled out different theories. This tends to relate to other areas of science too. Moreover, as technology continues to grow our ability to explore space gets better. In the section, titled a new view shows how well we are able to view space now vs. only a few years ago.

Gerard Latimore
Gerard Latimore

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:45 PM

This Science Object looked at the traits of planets in our Solar System. They discussed planets common features and discussed terrestrial and Jovian (gaseous) planets. They highlighted information regarding size, composition, shared characteristics including, their moons, and their evolutionary processes while highlighting and illustrating Earth’s uniqueness in the Solar System. I enjoyed the interactive activities, check understanding and graphics.

Sheri Smith
Sheri Smith

  • on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:52 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Solar System: A Look at the Planets Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial! Not only do they enrich my teaching, the knowledge enriches my life as well!.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:22 PM

Great information on the solar system.

Andrea H
Andrea H

  • on Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:01 PM

This gave me just the right amount of background on the Solar System so that I feel I can answer my third graders' questions without having to check online. Just right. Thank you.

Laura
Laura

  • on Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:47 PM

A great way to start into a study of the planets and early planetary theory!

Anthony O'Bannon
Anthony O'Bannon

  • on Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:42 PM

This is an excellent source for reviewing information as it pertains to the inner and outer planets of our solar system. From the small, dense terrestrial planets with rocky surfaces, to the much larger and more massive jovian planets, NSTA presents the material in a way to actively engage even the most apprehensive of learners. An added addition is the inclusion of the now ‘dwarf planet’ Pluto and its moon Charon. I especially like the videos and the pictures taken from various telescopes. The matching activity is definitely a bonus.

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:16 PM

In this Science Object looked at the traits of planets in our Solar System. It exposed the students to the unique qualities of planets. The use of graphics and interactive pieces allows for students to explore the basics of planets. I found this very useful for my understanding as well.

JeRita Humphrey
JeRita Humphrey

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:08 PM

This SciPack was interesting because it traced the beginning of the exploration of space and the advancements that science has made especially after the invention of the telescope. We have been able to find out information about the planets because of the improvement in technology and the interest in life (or lack thereof) beyond earth.

Charnita W
Charnita W

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:06 PM

Solar System: A Look at the Planets has taught me that each of the planets has a unique characteristic.From Earth the other planets of our solar system look like roaming stars, but thanks to telescopes and spacecraft we know these pinpricks of light are actually worlds unto themselves, many with moons that are just as fascinating as they are.

Aisha Burchfield  (Covington, GA)
Aisha Burchfield (Covington, GA)

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:59 PM

This Science Object is a high level look at the planets. The explanation of the Titus-Brode rule may be difficult for some elementary students to understand. At the same time, it is a great way to bring in math. I did enjoy the discussion of the history of the universe along with the images. The interactive “Journey to the Planets” gave a great description of the individual planets. It would be a great resource for students to do research on individual planets. This was a great resource for anybody who needs more background information on the planets.

Bianca Jones
Bianca Jones

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:58 PM

The information presented in this SciPack is current and names Pluto as a dwarf planet instead of a planet. This SciPack also gives a rationale for how planets are grouped based on similar composition and structure. I like the pictures of the planets that were taken and included.

Charnita W
Charnita W

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:18 PM

This SciPack looked at the characteristics of the different planets in the Solar System. It also gave good visuals to help teach the science concept. It was interesting to read how the images became more visible after space was explored. The planet characteristics/traits were more visible and detailed.

Felicia A
Felicia A

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:17 PM

This review was very informative. Reading this review has given me some great ideas to incorporate in my unit on the Solar System. The charts and pictures were great and very informative on the planets as it relates to comparing and contrasting them, the planet characteristics, and the atmospheric condition of the planets. I enjoyed the math integrations as well.

Adriane Woods
Adriane Woods

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:10 AM

The SciPack on the Solar System was very informative. The specific details provided in comparing and contrasting the different planets would be a great resource to use in instruction or professional development of teachers. For example, Figure 3.1 gives an excellent visual of each planet’s location and characteristics. I also believe the misconceptions listed are helpful for planning lessons on the solar system.

Papillon  (Atlanta, GA)
Papillon (Atlanta, GA)

  • on Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:37 PM

It is interesting the information from 1959 (the photo of the moon) and the change in Pluto's status in 2006. The pictures of the planets or photographs have changed over the years. These changes are evident because of the lack of information gained from scientists. For example, there has been little or no photos about Pluto. Is this the reason for the dwarf status. I grew know the 9 planets. I think the robot vs human subject is important in the article. Although there is a need for robots it can never take the place of human intelligence.

Linda Howard
Linda Howard

  • on Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:48 AM

I'll be using pieces of this to help create my lessons. It was helpful.

Kelly  (Brewster, NY)
Kelly (Brewster, NY)

  • on Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:01 AM

This is a great resource to introduce teachers to the planet in the solar system. It gives good background information on each planet. It also have lots of visual images and charts to organize content. It discusses Pluto's change of status to a dwarf planet as well.

Kate Geer  (Louisville, CO)
Kate Geer (Louisville, CO)

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:23 PM

This sci pack explores the similarities and differences in the planets that make up our solar system. Each planet moves around the Sun in the same direction in a nearly circular orbit, though each planet has its own unique orbital period and speed. Each of the planets vary in size, surface and atmospheric composition, and surface features. In orbit around the planets, we find a great variety of moons, flat rings of rock and ice debris, and/or artificial satellites. Features of many of the planets and their moons show evidence of formation and evolutionary processes similar to those that occur on Earth. These processes include earthquakes, lava flows, erosion, and changes in the atmosphere. The worlds of our solar system come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Red-eyed Jupiter, ringed Saturn, and frigid Uranus and Neptune are giant gassy globes containing nearly all of the matter in the solar system. These Jovian planets, or gas giants, are huge worlds of air, clouds, and fluid that may have no solid surfaces no matter how deep you go. Everything else in the solar system is just rock, ice, and dust. The largest rock balls are known as the terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, with our Moon usually considered part of the club, and now Vesta is applying for membership. Earth is the biggest of all the rocky worlds. While the sci pack is interesting some of the information is very technical. I did recall quite a bit from previous lessons focused on the solar system.

Tanya Barrett
Tanya Barrett

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:26 PM

This review was interesting. The pictures from the satellite were interesting and showed the details about planets. I found it interesting that astronomers thought it was only five planets at first. I also thought it was interesting how the technology changes and reveals more data about space.

Shereen Zimmerman
Shereen Zimmerman


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