Reflection: Checks for Understanding Accurate Model of The Solar System - Section 3: Making Our Solar System


Doing this activity for the last 10 years, there are two things that never cease to amaze me just how small our planet is in the context of our massive solar system.

The goal of this class is to change students perception of our solar system. To get their mental models closer to the truth of just how big our solar system really is. It also has them making calculations on how long it takes light to get from the sun to the Earth, but that is secondary and is there for students to have something to do while everyone finishes the distance calculations. 

The Student work example shows that this student only made a guess for the size of Earth from the collection of spheres at the front of the room. I find that if I have students make a guess on all of the planets it takes a long time and is not very useful. So I have them make a guess just for the Earth now. Most guess too big and are surprised to find out just how small Earth is compared to the sun.

  Checks for Understanding: Student work
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Accurate Model of The Solar System

Unit 2: Forces in Two Dimensions
Lesson 15 of 16

Objective: Students create an accurate scale model of our solar system.

Big Idea: The actual sizes of the planets and the distances between them is impossible to represent in a textbook.

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