Overview Students read about the structure of the universe and then compare the sizes of different objects in the universe.

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1 Part 1: Colonize the solar system Lesson #1: Structure of the Universe Time: approximately minutes Materials: Copies of different distances (included). Text: So What All Is Out There, Anyway? Overview Students read about the structure of the universe and then compare the sizes of different objects in the universe. Purpose Research has shown that students in this age group hold many misconceptions about the universe that stem from a lack of awareness about how the universe is arranged. It is important that students learn early on in their exploration of astronomy the difference between solar systems, galaxies and the universe. This lesson introduces students to these different structures and then reinforces this information through an exercise where students have to arrange different statements according to the size of the object they describe. Standards This lesson is designed to teach the following key science concepts: the Universe, Scale, Systems. Many of these concepts are recommended by various state and national curricular standards. A complete list is included at the end of this lesson in Appendix A. Procedure Step 1: Distance Cards. Display the 11 Distance cards (included at the end of this document) in random order, perhaps by taping them to the blackboard. Have the students place them in order according to size, moving from the smallest to the largest distance. This can be done several ways. For example: you can divide the class into 11 groups, give each group 1 card and have the group decide where their card belongs, you can distribute them randomly to 11 students, or you can decide as a class by asking questions such as, Which is the smallest? Which goes next? Be sure you ask for dissenting views and give the dissenters an opportunity to support their opinions. Tell the class to keep the sequence they have arrived at in mind as they read the brief article So What All Is Out There, Anyway? Tell them that they will have an opportunity to change the sequence after they read the article, so they should check for information that will help them put the cards in the correct order as they read. Step 2: So What All Is Out There, Anyway? Students should read the article, either individually, in pairs, or as a whole class. The questions at the end of the article can serve as the impetus for a whole class discussion. Possible correct answers to the discussion questions are: 1) black holes, many stars, nebulas, (interstellar) clouds of gas and dust 2) planets, a central star, moons, asteroids, comets, Earth, us, etc. 3a) a filament of galaxies b) a star c) a universe d) a nebula e) a galaxy

2 4) solar system: asteroids, moons, the Sun, comets, Venus, yourself. galaxy: black holes, asteroids, moons, comets, the Sun, clusters of stars, Proxima Centauri, Venus, the Pillars of Hercules, yourself universe: black holes, asteroids, clusters of galaxies, moons, comets, the Local Group, the Sun, clusters of stars, Proxima Centauri, Venus, yourself. Question #4 can be done as a class exercise. Write Solar system, Galaxy and Universe on the board. Have a student come up to the board and say the name of 1 of the objects listed in question #4. Ask the student to write the object under a heading that it would fit into. When that student has finished, ask if there are any other headings that it would fit into. If there are, then have a different student write the object under the other heading. Continue in this fashion until all the objects have been correctly listed. Step 3: Class exercises. Refer back to cards that the class arranged by size at the beginning of the lesson. Ask if there should be any changes to the sequence. If there are disagreements about where a card belongs, ask the disagreeing students to find the information in the article to support their opinion. The correct order of the cards is: This school building (1); Diameter of the Moon (2); Diameter of the Earth (3); Distance from the Earth to the Moon (4); Diameter of the Sun (5) Distance from the Sun to the Earth (6); Distance across the solar system (7); Distance to Proxima Centuari (8); Distance across the galaxy (9); Distance across the Local Group (10); Distance across the visible universe (11)

3 Appendix A Standards addressed Benchmarks (Grades 3 through 5) 4A - The Universe The earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and the moon orbits around the earth. Stars are like the sun, some being smaller and some larger, but so far away that they look like points of light. 11D Scale Almost anything has limits on how big or small it can be. Benchmarks (Grades 6 through 8) 4A - The Universe The sun is a medium-sized star located near the edge of a disk-shaped galaxy of stars, part of which can be seen as a glowing band of light that spans the sky on a very clear night. The universe contains many billions of galaxies, and each galaxy contains many billions of stars. To the naked eye, even the closest of these galaxies is no more than a dim, fuzzy spot. The sun is many thousands of times closer to the earth than any other star. Light from the sun takes a few minutes to reach the earth, but light from the next nearest star takes a few years to arrive. The trip to that star would take the fastest rocket thousands of years. Some distant galaxies are so far away that their light takes several billion years to reach the earth. People on earth, therefore, see them as they were that long ago in the past. 4G - Forces of nature The sun's gravitational pull holds the earth and other planets in their orbits, just as the planets' gravitational pull keeps their moons in orbit around them. 10A - Displacing the Earth from the Center of the Universe Telescopes reveal that there are many more stars in the night sky than are evident to the unaided eye, the surface of the moon has many craters and mountains, the sun has dark spots, and Jupiter and some other planets have their own moons. 11A Systems Any system is usually connected to other systems, both internally and externally. Thus a system may be thought of as containing subsystems and as being a subsystem of a larger system. 12D Communication Skills Organize information in simple tables and graphs and identify relationships they reveal. Benchmarks (Grades 9 through 12) 1A - The Scientific World View Scientists assume that the universe is a vast single system in which the basic rules are the same everywhere. The rules may range from very simple to extremely complex, but scientists operate on the belief that the rules can be discovered by careful, systematic study.

4 National Standards (Grades 5-8) Earth in the Solar System The earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets. The sun, an average star, is the central and largest body in the solar system National Standards (Grades 9-12) The Origin and Evolution of the Universe Early in the history of the universe, matter, primarily the light atoms hydrogen and helium, clumped together by gravitational attraction to form countless trillions of stars. Billions of galaxies, each of which is a gravitationally bound cluster of billions of stars, now form most of the visible mass in the universe. Indiana Standards Grade 5 Reading Decoding and Word Recognition Read aloud grade-level-appropriate narrative text (stories) and expository text (information) fluently and accurately and with appropriate timing, changes in voice, and expression. Structural Features of Informational and Technical Materials Use the features of informational texts, such as formats, graphics, diagrams, illustrations, charts, maps, and organization, to find information and support understanding Analyze text that is organized in sequential or chronological order. Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text Recognize main ideas presented in texts, identifying and assessing evidence that supports those ideas Draw inferences, conclusions, or generalizations about text and support them with textual evidence and prior knowledge. Math Problem Solving Analyze problems by identifying relationships, telling relevant from irrelevant information, sequencing and prioritizing information, and observing patterns. Science The Universe Observe and describe that stars are like the sun, some being smaller and some being larger, but they are so far away that they look like points of light. Systems Recognize and describe that systems contain objects as well as processes that interact with each other.

5 be Recognize and describe that almost anything has limits on how big or small it can Grade 6 Reading Decoding and Word Recognition Read aloud grade-level-appropriate poems, narrative text (stories), and expository text (information) fluently and accurately and with appropriate timing, changes in voice, and expression. Vocabulary and Concept Development Understand unknown words in informational texts by using word, sentence, and paragraph clues to determine meaning. Math Problem Solving Analyze problems by identifying relationships, telling relevant from irrelevant information, identifying missing information, sequencing and prioritizing information, and observing patterns. Science The Universe Explain that Earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and that the moon, as well as many artificial satellites and debris, orbit around Earth. Grade 7 Math Measurement Compare lengths, areas, volumes, weights, capacities, times, and temperatures within measurement systems. Problem Solving Analyze problems by identifying relationships, telling relevant from irrelevant information, identifying missing information, sequencing and prioritizing information, and observing patterns. Science The Universe Recognize and describe that the sun is a medium-sized star located near the edge of a disk-shaped galaxy of stars and that the universe contains many billions of galaxies and each galaxy contains many billions of stars Recognize and describe that the sun is many thousands of times closer to Earth than any other star, allowing light from the sun to reach Earth in a few minutes. Note that this may be compared to time spans of longer than a year for all other stars. Grade 8

6 Math Problem Solving Analyze problems by identifying relationships, telling relevant from irrelevant information, identifying missing information, sequencing and prioritizing information, and observing patterns. Science Manipulation and Observation Use proportional reasoning to solve problems. Earth and Space Science The Universe ES.1.5 Understand and explain the relationship between planetary systems, stars, multiple-star systems, star clusters, galaxies, and galactic groups in the universe.

7 Diameter of the Earth Distance across the solar system

8 Distance across the galaxy Diameter of the Sun

9 Diameter of the Moon Distance across the visible universe

10 Distance from the Sun to the Earth This school building

11 Distance across the Local Group Distance to Proxima Centauri

12 Distance from the Earth to the Moon

13 Diameter of the Earth Distance across the solar system Distance across the galaxy Diameter of the Sun Diameter of the Moon Distance across the visible universe Distance from the Sun to the Earth This school building Distance across the Local Group Distance to Proxima Centauri Distance from the Earth to the Moon

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