The Terrestrial Planets

A Closer Look at the Planets

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A Closer Look at the Planets

Introduce your students to the new definitions of Planets, Dwarf Planets and Small Solar System Bodies. With the amazing clarity of new Hubble photography and 3D animation, students will discover "What happened to Pluto?" Newer planet categories like Terrestial and Jovian and new terminology like "Plutons" are made concrete and easy to understand. Students will learn how technology helps science expand and refine our growing understanding of the Solar System.

The amazing clarity of new Hubble photography helps introduce the new definitions of planets, dwarf planets and small solar system bodies to help us expand and refine our growing understanding of the Solar System.

  1. Students will understand about the planets and dwarf planets in our solar system.
  2. Students will determine the order of the planets and learn the differences between the terrestrial and jovian planets.
  3. Students will learn about the size, landforms, atmosphere, temperature, moons, rotation, and orbit of the terrestrial planets and their names: Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars.
  4. Students will learn about the size, landforms, atmosphere, temperature, moons, rotation, and orbit of the jovian planets and their names: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
  5. Students will learn about the size, landforms, atmosphere, termperature, moons, rotation, and orbit of the dwarf planets and their names: Ceres, Pluto, Eris.

  1. Model of the Solar System. Ask students to work in pairs or small groups. Using classroom supplies (or have students brainstorm supplies they can bring from home and complete the project in two days) have groups construct a small scale model of the solar system. Students should make sure that their planets are comparatively sized, that they are the correct colors and composition (encourage creativity when constructing the gas planets), and that their orbits are as accurate as possible.
  2. Life on Other Planets. After viewing the program, students should know that at this time, Earth is the only planet known to support life. Ask students to choose another planet, research it, and come up with a solution to make those planets livable as well (not just for people but for any type of life).