Benchmark 1
Compare and contrast characteristics of the Sun, Moon, and Earth.

Benchmark Clarification

Within our solar system, the Sun, Moon, and Earth have similarities and differences. These similarities and differences can be observed and measured. Similarities and differences include size, shape, location, and capable of producing their own light.

Teacher Note: Earth produces its own geothermal heat but the production site is within the mantle and core so light isn’t visible. Jupiter, a gaseous giant and perhaps a failed star produces its own heat but again not within the visible portion of the spectrum. It is enough for students at this level need to know that planets are capable of producing their own light. Many students in college incorrectly believe that the moon phases are produced through clouds or through its own power. Stress that the only way the moon or earth can be seen is through the sun’s illumination.

Students will:

* Compare the similarities among the Sun, Moon, and Earth
* Contrast the differences among the Sun, Moon, and Earth

Key Concept / MEAP Vocabulary

* planet
* star
* sphere
* space
* solar system
* larger/smaller
* closer/further
* solid/gaseous
* heat
* light

Real World Context
Observations of the Moon, Earth, and safe observations of the Sun.