Solar System: Asteroids, Comets, and Meteorites

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 third of four Science Objects in the Solar System SciPack. It provides an understanding of the bodies other than planets that exist in our solar system. There are many asteroids and meteoroids composed of rock orbiting the Sun. Occasionally, one of these bodies enters the Earth’s atmosphere, glowing as they disintegrate from atmospheric friction. Those that do not completely burn up in the atmosphere may impact the ground. Other chunks of rock mixed with ice have such long and off-center orbits that they only periodically come very close to the Sun, where some of their surface material is boiled off by the Sun's radiation and pushed into a long illuminated tail that we see as a comet.

Grades
  • Elementary
  • Middle

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Reviews (8)
  • on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:53 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Solar System: Asteroids, Comets, and Meteorites 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 Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:12 AM

This is a great resource about the many things in space other than planets. We get bombarded by tons of space debris each year. This resource explains it all very well.

Frank Levesque
Frank Levesque

  • on Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:52 PM

This science object was fantastic. Perfect for an older grade level classroom in elementary school. The animations were great and aptly illustrated the concepts in the written text. The explanations for the differences between asteroids, comets and meteorites were concise and clear. I also enjoyed the pictures of the craters along with the possibilities of future impacts discussed. Since there has been a little bit of an entertainment focus on the idea of an impact to Earth and how it would affect the planet, I think that the actual predictions of such an impact were helpful.

Leah Lawrence  (Thoreau, NM)
Leah Lawrence (Thoreau, NM)

  • on Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:52 PM

This science object was fantastic. Perfect for an older grade level classroom in elementary school. The animations were great and aptly illustrated the concepts in the written text. The explanations for the differences between asteroids, comets and meteorites were concise and clear. I also enjoyed the pictures of the craters along with the possibilities of future impacts discussed. Since there has been a little bit of an entertainment focus on the idea of an impact to Earth and how it would affect the planet, I think that the actual predictions of such an impact were helpful.

Leah Lawrence  (Thoreau, NM)
Leah Lawrence (Thoreau, NM)

  • on Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:40 AM

One of the most glorious things you can see in the night sky is a comet….but what exactly is it? This resource explains the origin of comets, and provides a detailed description of its orbit around the sun. Additionally, it takes us on an adventure of the path of a asteroid as it revolves around the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Finally, we learn about the life of a meteoroid as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere and either burns up completely (meteor) or hits the Earth’s surface (meteorite). I loved this journey and I highly recommend this resource for anyone interested in exploring some of the smaller objects in the solar system.

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

  • on Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:40 AM

One of the most glorious things you can see in the night sky is a comet….but what exactly is it? This resource explains the origin of comets, and provides a detailed description of its orbit around the sun. Additionally, it takes us on an adventure of the path of a asteroid as it revolves around the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Finally, we learn about the life of a meteoroid as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere and either burns up completely (meteor) or hits the Earth’s surface (meteorite). I loved this journey and I highly recommend this resource for anyone interested in exploring some of the smaller objects in the solar system.

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

  • on Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:25 PM

I would definitely recommend teachers to use this resource. It has much beneficial information regarding meteorites and comets. This material would be great for older grades such as 4th or 5th grade science. Students would truly enjoy learning some of this information. Also, I found that it was quite interesting how this resource discussed Giuseppe Piazzi and how he discovered an object he first referred to as a new comet. This resource overall includes a lot of great science information, specifically about meteorites. There are many different lessons that made using this particular resource.

Michelle
Michelle

  • on Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:33 PM

I think that this is an interesting website because it explains that things such as asteroids, comets, and meteorites that we do not normally encounter in our lives but that do exist. Learning more about these things that seem so abstract to us is interesting. This site is good!

Leanne Palmer  (, )
Leanne Palmer (, )


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