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Take A Spin Through The Solar System

This lesson plan features self-study guide for making comparisons of the rotation rates of 3 planets (Jupiter, Uranus, and Saturn) and the Sun. This lesson also includes a movie of Saturn's rotation and explanatory text.

Key Questions
1. What is the difference between rotation and revolution?

2. How does the rotation and revolution differ between the sun and other planets in our solar system?

Learning Objectives
1. Students will be able to pull together current inforamtion and the latest images of our Solar System from the Internet.

2. Students will know the concepts of ratios, circles, angles, arcs, angular velocity, and period of rotation.

3. Studetns will be able to demonstrate the application of math concepts to astronomy.

4. Studetns will be able to introduce and discuss general infomration about the structure of our Solar System and planetary motion in the Solar System.

General Subject Areas
Astronomy, Space Science, Physics

Author: Kevin McCarron, Ginger Privat, Nellie Levine


Student Activities
Students will research basic planetary information about Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn, and the Sun. Students will also make comparisons between all of these bodies. Students should complete the Self-Study Guide before beginning the lesson.

Student Prerequisites
Students should understand basic physics and math concepts, including ratios, angular velocity, and measurement of an arc in a circle.

Students hand in angular velocity worksheets and rotation worksheets.

Extended Learning

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Time Requirements
Full unit time requirements range from several days to two weeks.

Materials Required
-Internet-connected computer with browser and a printer
-Blank transparency acetates or tracing paper
-Calculator (with trig functions for advanced students)
-Tangerine or orange
-Basketball tied to the ceiling or a globe
-Worksheets (master provided)

Required Plugins
-mpeg playback capability

Additional Resources

Best For Grades
middle school

National Science Education Standards (NSES)
grades 5-8

State Science Standards
Grade 8 Physical Science
Grades 9-12 Earth Sciences

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