Science
Strand V
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Earth and Space Sciences in Real-World Contexts

 

Science/Strand V
Content Standard 4
All students will compare and contrast our planet and Sun to other planets and star systems; describe and explain how objects in the solar system move; explain scientific theories as to the origin of the solar system; and explain how we learn about the universe. (Solar System, Galaxy, and Universe)

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 4
Middle School

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 4/Middle School
Benchmark 1
Compare the Earth to other planets in terms of supporting life.

Benchmark Clarification

The Earth is the only planet in the solar system that is known to support life as we know it. Scientists have drawn this conclusion based on comparing data from other planets to data from Earth. Some of these factors are:

  • temperature and pressure conditions
  • surface features
  • gravitational pull
  • the position in the solar system
  • ability of the atmosphere to screen ultraviolet radiation
  • proper concentration of carbon dioxide. Mars has too little; Venus has too much

Students will:

  • Compare Earth to other planets in the solar system

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Key Concept
Surface conditions:

  • gravity
  • atmosphere
  • temperatures
  • ozone

Relative distances; relative sizes

Sun produces light and heat for each planet

Molecules necessary to support life:

  • water
  • oxygen
  • nitrogen
  • carbon

See Cell processes (SCI.III.1.MS.2).

See Photosynthesis (SCI.III.2.MS.3).

See Light needed for Energy (SCI.III.5.MS.2).

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Real World Context

  • examples of local and extreme outdoor conditions on Earth vs. conditions on other planets
  • exploration of planets and their satellites

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: How does our planet and Sun compare to other planets and star systems?

Focus Question: What conditions do living things need to exist on other planets?

Students will brainstorm conditions necessary for life on Earth (water, oxygen, suitable temperatures, presence of ozone, proper amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and water vapor etc.) Students will list characteristics and traits that allow organisms to sustain life on Earth.

Using a variety of sources, students in small groups will select a planet (other than Earth), conduct research, and gather factual information about that planet, including its atmosphere, surface features, gravitational pull, and temperature conditions. These sources may include data collected from Galileo, Voyager, and other NASA space probes.

Using gathered information on the planets, each small group will create an illustration of an alien creature that has adapted to the conditions found on their selected planet, such as an alien drawn with space suit to adapt to the gases and extremely hot temperatures of Venus. Students will write and present a report describing their alien and its adaptations in relation to the planetŐs conditions.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.MS.1), (SCI.I.1.MS.2), (SCI.I.1.MS.5).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.MS.1), (SCI.II.1.MS.2), (SCI.II.1.MS.4), (SCI.II.1.MS.5), (SCI.II.1.MS.6).

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Assessment Example

Small groups will build a form or a model of an alien from another planet found in our solar system. They will use their research information to determine which characteristics the alien must have to adapt to their planetŐs atmosphere, surface features, gravitational pull, and temperature conditions.

Each group will present its design to the class and support their design with research information.

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric

Criteria

Apprentice

Basic

Meets

Exceeds

Model of alien adaptations

Uses model to explain relationships of a single planet condition to the characteristics of the alien.

Uses model to explain relationships of two or three planet conditions to the characteristics of the alien.

Uses model to explain relationships of all four planet conditions to the characteristics of the alien.

Uses model to explain relationships of all four planet conditions to the characteristics of the alien. The illustration is colored with background effects.

Quality of model

Builds a poor model.

Builds an average model.

Builds an above average model.

Builds an excellent model.

 

Science/Strand V/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 1
Resources

Webliography.
http://mtn.merit.edu/mcf/SCI.V.4.MS.1.html

The Nine Planets: Take Bill Arnett's multimedia tour of the Solar System. Ň 'The Nine Planets' is a collection of information about our Solar System intended for a general audience with little technical background.Ó
http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/nineplanets/nineplanets/nineplanets.html

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/.index.html

http://www.thursdaysclassroom.com/

Fraknoi, Andrew. The Universe at Your Fingertips. NSTA, 1995.

Messages From Space. GEMS.
http://www.lhs.berkeley.edu/GEMS/

Out of This World. AIMS.
http://wwws.aimsedu.org/aimscatalog/default.tpl

Sun/Planets. Bill Nye Video. Disney Educational. (800/295-5010).