Cart 0
Cart 0

earth and space

The Solar System

 
 
 
OurSolarSystem-01.jpg

Learning materials and activity sheets

(Download and print before starting lesson)

Name the Planets Activity Sheet

Print A4 -

Aim - Students name the 8 planets

Density Experiment Sheet

Print A4 - Students to complete with Density Experiment. You will also need a large tub full of water, and balls of various sizes and density.

Aim - To help students better understand density

Planet Categories Poster

Print A2 - Recommend laminating both download 1 and 2 and individually cutting out the planets - place blue-tac on the back of planets.

Aim - See if students can correctly place all 8 planets into the correct category (Terrestrial or Jovial)


 Get your astronaut on because we are going to space!!

Throughout history Astronomers have identified other planets, suns, and eventually the vast cosmos as we currently know it, filled with countless galaxies and trillions of stars. 

Right now we are on Earth, a planet going around the sun, which is in the centre of our solar system, which spinning around the centre of the Milkway galaxy, which is one of the trillions of galaxies that make up the Cosmos.

Is you mind swirling at a million miles an hour? 

THE MILKY WAY GALAXY

milkway.jpg

This is the Milky Way Galaxy it is made up of stars, dust and other materials.

If you go outside on a very clear night, somewhere very dark you might be lucky enough to see the Milky Way Galaxy!

The Milky Way Galaxy is just one of billions of galaxies!


QUESTION

WHY IS IT NAMED THE MILKY WAY?


The Ancient Romans called it ‘via lactea’ which quite literally meant a ‘milky way/road’. Also, the word ‘galaxy’ is derived from a Greek word for ‘milk’. Do you think it looks like spilt milk??


milkway.jpeg

OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

Our solar system is just a tiny piece of the galaxy and is located on the trailing outer arm of the Milky Way galaxy. 

620057main_milkyway_full.jpg

In the centre of our solar system is the sun, an enormous star (which is one of the hundred billion stars that make up the Milky Way galaxy).

Revolving around the sun are 8 planets. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

A planet is a celestial body that orbits a star - like our sun.  

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

The planets are divided into two categoriesTerrestrial and Jovial or the rocky-based planets and the gas based planets. 


TERRESTRIAL PLANETS

Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are all Terrestrial planets, meaning they are mostly made of rocky material, their surfaces are solid and they don’t have rings around them, they have very few moons and they are relatively small. 

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

 

MERCURY

TERRESTRIAL PLANET!  

Smallest and closest to the sun is Mercury. Mercury is only slightly larger than Earth's Moon. It takes Mercury 3 months to orbit the sun.    

It has a solid surface that is covered with craters like our Moon. It has a thin atmosphere, and it doesn’t have any moons.

 

VENUS 

TERRESTRIAL PLANET!  

Venus is the hottest planet reaching up to 464°C, It has a thick atmosphere full of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and clouds made of sulfuric acid. The atmosphere traps heat and keeps Venus toasty warm. It's so hot on Venus, metals like lead would be puddles of melted liquid.

Venus looks like a very active planet. It has mountains and volcanoes. Venus is similar in size to Earth. Earth is just a little bit bigger.

 

EARTH  

TERRESTRIAL PLANET!  

Next to this world of fire is a world of water, Earth! 

Most of the surface of our planet is water; the oceans are what enable Life on this planet. Take a nice deep breath in for me, the air that is filling our lungs comes from the ocean. Around Earth we also have an atmosphere. Our atmosphere naturally contains greenhouse gases, without them the Earth would be way too cold – averaging a rather chilly -18°C instead of the nice and cosy average of 15°C that it is today. This is known as the Greenhouse effect, it’s a natural atmospheric process that helps regulate Earth’s climate and protects us from the suns harmful rays. 

 

MARS 

TERRESTRIAL PLANET!  

Next up is Mars, Mars is often referred to as the ‘red planet’. It's red because of rusty iron in the ground. Mars is half the size of Earth. 

It is thought that this planet might have supported life about 3.7 billion Earths ago when Mars had a watery surface. Mars is also home to the biggest mountain – a volcano that is 21km high!! 

And that is the last of the Terrestrial or rocky based planets. Now we move onto the Jovial or gas based planets. 

 

And that is the last of the Terrestrial or rocky based planets. Now we move onto the Jovial or gas based planets. 

JOVIAL PLANETS

Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants while Uranus and Neptune are ice giants. All four have multiple moons, no solid surface, support ring systems and are of immense size. 

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

 

JUPITER 

JOVIAL PLANET!  

 Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. 

Jupiter is also the fourth brightest object in the solar system.
Only the Sun, Moon and Venus are brighter. It is one of five planets visible to the naked eye from Earth.

Jupiter has 53 named moons and another 26 awaiting official names. 

Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot is a giant storm bigger than Earth that has raged for hundreds of years.

 

SATURN

JOVIAL PLANET!  

Next door is Saturn the solar systems second largest planet. Saturn is best known for its signature ring system - made of chunks of ice and rock.

Saturn's atmosphere is made up mostly of hydrogen (H2) and helium (He).

Saturn has 150 moons and smaller moonlets.

 

URANUS

JOVIAL PLANET

Past Saturn is the gas giants Uranus and Neptune. 

Uranus was the first planet found with the aid of a telescope,  discovered in 1781 by astronomer William Herschel. Uranus is famous for rotating on its side. With minimum atmospheric temperature of -224°C Uranus is nearly the coldest planet in the solar system. 

Uranus makes one trip around the Sun every 84 Earth years! 

Uranus has 27 known moons

 

NEPTUNE

JOVIAL PLANET

Neptune is the outermost planet of the solar system and one of the coldest reaching temperatures as low as -373°C 

Large storms whirl through its upper atmosphere, and high-speed winds track around the planet at up 600 meters per second.

Neptune has 14 moons.


QUESTION

Complete ‘Name the Planets’ Activity Sheet’ and ‘Planet Categories activity’

Can you name the four Terrestrial Planets?

Can you name the four Jovial Planets?


Let’s get our thinking caps on why do you think the inner planets of the solar system are rocky and solid and the outer planets are gas giants?

Which do you think would weigh more? Jupiter or Earth?


DENSITY EXPERIMENT

Density is how compact an object is.

Put another way, density is the mass (weight) of an object divided by its volume (amount of space something takes up).

This experiment demonstrates how the the size of an object does not always mean that is is heavier. From this we can work out an objects density.

Use your ‘Density Experiment sheet’ for this activity.

EQUIPMENT

  1. A Big tub of water

  2. A beach ball

  3. A Small Rock

MAKE A PREDICATION

What do you think will happen? Will both the beach ball and the rock sink to the bottom? Can you draw what you think it will look like?

METHOD

  1. Place the beach ball into the tub of water

  2. Place the Rock into the tub of water

RECORD AND REPRESENT YOUR FINDINGS

Let’s draw and label our experiment.

OBSERVATION

What have you observed?

From our experiment we can see that the small rock sunk to the bottom of the tub, the beach ball sat on top of the water. 

This demonstrates that although the beach ball is the bigger of the two objects it has a lower density than the rock.

Although the rock is smaller than the beach ball it has a higher density than the beach ball.

The denser objects will be at the bottom, while the low density objects will float to the top. 


Now that we know that denser objects will be at the bottom and the low density objects will float on the top, can you relate this to the 8 planets that make up our solar system?


Remember the planets are divided into two categories?

The Inner Terrestrial planets of our solar system are small dense and rocky while the outer Jovial planets like Saturn are massive gas giants. Just like our density experiment!

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

Fun fact Saturn could hypothetically float in a massive planet sized swimming pool!!


THE MOST AMAZING FACT

Remember

The elements that make up the stars, the planets are the same elements that make up you. You are most from star stuff.

So when you look up at the night sky, remember that you are part of this Universe, you are in this Universe but most importantly of all, the Universe is within you.

We are all connected by stars.


EXPLORING SPACE

InSight Mars Lander

On November 26, 2018, InSight, (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) successfully landed on the surface of Mars after a six-month journey through space. InSight s a NASA Discovery Program mission that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior. Insight is also a terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of the most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science - understanding the processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago. 

Parker Solar Probe

At about 10:28 p.m. EST on November 5th, Parker Solar Probe will achieve its first perihelion (its first close approach to the Sun) and will come within 15 million miles of the Sun's surface. During perihelion, the spacecraft will reach a top speed of 213,200 miles per hour relative to the Sun. This speed and distance will mark new records for both closest solar approach and top heliocentric speed by a spacecraft.

Random fact

Did you know we know more about space than we do our own ocean?


Group Discussion

Do these advancements in technology make you feel confident about the future direction of this planet? Do you think we should be looking to outer space for answers?


Activity

Create our own solar system models


Additional Learning

Series

COSMOS: A SPACE TIME ODYSSEY- NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON

Youtube Videos

IT’S OK TO BE SMART: 100,000,000 YEARS FROM NOW

CRASH COURSE ASTRONOMY: THE EARTH

CRASH COURSE ASTRONOMY: TIDES 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BACTERIA AND PROTISTS

SOLAR SYSTEM HISTORY - WHERE DID EARTH COME FROM

HIGH MASS STARS : CRASH COURSE

Further Reading

Mission Overview - InSight

NASA

Podcasts

PHILSOPHIZE THIS: BY STEPHEN WEST - SPOTIFY

Cool people to research

Carl Sagan, Neil Degrasse Tyson, William Herschel, Galileo, Edwin Hubble, Elon Musk, Rosalin Franklin, Rachel Carson, Aristotle.


LEARNING RESOURCES AND MATERIALS