The Sun

The Solar System

Object Type: Video Clip
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The Solar System

Students take a tour of our solar system. Visit each of the planets to learn about their special features, sizes, and orbits. Learn about the planets' moons and rings, and how gravity keeps them in orbit. Stop at the sun, discover its immense size, and see sunspots and solar flares. Find out what scientists have learned about the planets through telescopes, space missions, and satellites.

Take a tour of the Solar System and visit each of the planets to learn about their special features.

  1. Students will understand that our solar system is made up of planets, dwarf planets, moons, asteroids, and our star, the Sun.
  2. Students will understand what a star, a planet, and a dwarf planet are.
  3. Students will know that each planet and dwarf planet rotates on an axis and orbits the sun.
  4. Students will realize that there are currently 8 planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
  5. Students will realize that there are currently three dwarf planets in our solar system; Ceres, Pluto, and Eris.
  6. Students will understand the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet.

  1. Before viewing the video

    1. Anticipatory Set: Have a “Solar System Quiz” to see what the students already know. Ask them questions such as: Which planet is the largest? (Jupiter), Which planet is closest to the sun? (Mercury), Which planet is called the red planet? (Mars), What is the largest object in our solar system? (The Sun). Include questions that focus on recent changes in how we think about our solar system such as: How many planets are in our solar system? (8) and which dwarf planet is the largest? (Eris).
  2. After viewing the video

    1. Make a 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 to complete the project) 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.