National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Mars Rover Celebration
Curriculum Module
Week 1: Learning Research Skills
Lesson
1
: Overview of the Solar System
Educational Product
Edu
cators & Students
Grades 3

5
www.marsrover.org
2
Week 1: Learning Research Skills
LESSON 1
:
OVERVIEW OF THE SOLA
R SYSTEM
GRADE LEVEL:
3

5
MATERIALS
:
For each team:
o
5 meters of yarn
o
9 pony beads, each a different color
o
Centimeter ruler
One of each for demonstration
o
Beach ball
o
Cake sprinkles (round)
o
Cinnamon imperials candy
o
Dried peas
o
bb pellet
s(2)
o
Gumball
(2)
o
Styrofoam ball (2” diameter)
o
Ping pong ball
s
9

Index cards, labeled with the names of the planets and the Sun
TEKS/SES:
Science
Grade
3
3.2.A
3.2.B
3.3.C
3.4.A
3.8.C
3.8.D
Grade
4
4.2.A
4.2.C
4.4.A
Grade
5
5.3.C
5.4.A
Full text versions of these TEKS are available at
http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter112/ch112a.html
Math
Grade
3
3.4.B
3.11.A
3.14.B
3.14.D
3.15.A
Grade
4
4.4.D
4.
14.B
4.14.D
4.15.A
Grade
5
5.3.B
5.10.C
5.14.B
5.14.D
5.15.A
Full text versions of these TEKS are available at
http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter111/ch111a.html
Mars Rover Model Celebration
–
Lesson Plan
; Week 1; Lesson3
–
Grades 3

5
3
Language Arts
Grade
3
3.4.B
3.17.A
3.20.A
.
ii
3.29.B
3.31
Grade
4
4.2.A
4.2.B
4.15.A
4.18.A
.ii
4.27.B
4.29
Grade
5
5.2.A
5.2.B
5.15.A
5.18.A.ii
5.18.A.iii
5.27.B
5.29
Full text versions of these TEKS are available at
http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter110/ch110a.html
NATIONAL STANDARDS
Science
Unifying Concepts and Processes
Change, constancy and measurement
Science as Inquiry
Abil
ities necessary to do scientific inquiry
Understanding about scientific inquiry
Earth and Space Science
Earth in the solar system
History and Nature of Science
Science as human endeavor
Nature of science
History of science
Math
Number and Operations
Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems
Measurement
Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement
Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formul
as to determine measurements.
Data Analysis and Probability
Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to
answer them
Problem Solving
Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
Communication
Organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking through communication
Communicate their mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others
Analyze and evaluate the mathematical thinking and strategies of other
s;
Representation
Create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas
Use representations to model and interpret physical, social, and mathematical phenomena
Mars Rover Model Celebration
–
Lesson Plan
; Week 1; Lesson3
–
Grades 3

5
4
Language Arts
NL

ENG.K

12.1 Reading for Perspective: Student
s read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an
understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire
new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for
personal
fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
NL

ENG.K

12.3 Evaluation Strategies:
Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret,
evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on thei
r prior experience, their interactions with other readers
and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and
their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound

letter correspondence, sentence struct
ure, context,
graphics).
NL

ENG.K

12.7
Evaluating Data: Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas
and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of
sources (e.g., print and nonp
rint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that
suit their purpose and audience.
NL

ENG.K

12.8 Developing Research Skills: Students use a variety of technological and information
resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer
networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and
to create and communicate knowledge.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION:
How might you describe the solar system to a friend who knows nothing about the relative sizes
of the sun and planets or the distances among
them?
LESSON OBJECTIVE(S):
Students will be able to:
Identify that the Sun is the central body of the Solar System
Identify the 8 major planets
Understand the planets are very far away from Earth and each other
Understand the relative differences among
the planets and the Sun
Construct a model of the solar system
Demonstrate a grade appropriate understanding of revolution and rotation
ENGAGEMENT
1.
At the beginning of this lesson, and using the attached documents (Appendix), present the Key Vocabulary
and the Essential Question for students to consider during the lesson.
2.
In an open space and using the pre

labeled index cards, hand the cards to 9 stu
dents who will represent
the planets and the Sun. Ask the other students to place them in order starting with the planet closest to
the Sun and working outward. As students correctly identify the position of a planet, ask students what
they know about ea
ch one.
3.
Once students share what they know, ask if students can identify how the planets travel around the sun.
(They rotate and revolve.)
Ask students to stand up and physically demonstrate revolution
(moving
around the room in a circular path
), rotation
(spinning in place).
4.
Ask the students with the index cards to line up correctly and demonstrate the planets rotating and
revolving around the Sun. Discuss the relative distances between the planets and introduce the
Astronomical Unit

a unit of length (
14
9,597,870.700 km) approximately equal to distance between Earth
and the Sun.
5.
Allow students take turns so that all students get a chance to be a planet. Throughout the Engagement,
stress the distances between the individual planets and the Sun.
Mars Rover Model Celebration
–
Lesson Plan
; Week 1; Lesson3
–
Grades 3

5
5
EXPLORAT
ION
With students divided into teams of 4

5, teams will assign a bead to represent each planet and record the
data in their Science Notebooks.
By tying the Sun bead to the end the 5 meters of yarn, students will use the table in their Science
Notebooks t
o measure out the distances of each of the planets from the Sun. Students will work together
to correctly measure the distance from the Sun and tie the appropriate bead to the yarn.
EXPLANATION
After completing the Exploration, students should be brought
together to discuss results and review notes
and observations recorded in their Science Notebooks. The teacher should ask specific questions such as
those listed below to identify and correct any misconceptions:
o
What is the difference between rotation and
revolution?
o
Are all of the planets and the sun the same size? How do you know?
o
What is an Astronomical Unit? Why is it important?
To further solidify that the planets are different sizes, the teacher should hold up the beach ball and ask
students to cons
ider: If the beach ball represented the Sun, how big would each of the planets be?
Guide students to work together as a whole group to put the planet representations in the correct order
(Starting with Mercury

cake sprinkle, dried pea, bb pellet, cinnamon
imperial, Styrofoam ball, ping pong
ball, gumball, gumball)
Then, students should individually answer the Essential Question in their Science Notebooks.
ELABORATION
Students in the intermediate grades can calculate the distances between the planets themse
lves by using
a scale factor of 1 Astronomical Unit (AU)= 10 cm instead of using the chart provided in the Science
Notebook
EVALUATION
During this two day lesson, the teacher is encouraged to use formative assessments to determine and
deepen student unders
tanding. Teachers may wish to use one or both of the included Exit Tickets
(Appendix) after the conclusion of the first day or review and/or grade students’ Science Notebooks to
establish student understanding.
SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURC
ES
For Students
Link for Planetary Data:
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/
http://www.messenger

education.org/Interactives/ANIMATIONS/Planet_Size_Comparison/planet_size_comparison_full.htm
http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/solar

system

explorer/en/
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k

4/stories/what

is

the

solar

system.html
For Teachers
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/topnav/materials/listbytype/Our_Solar_System_Lithograph
_Set.html
http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/summer/education_resources/earthspacesci
ence_grades7

9/ESS_ss

scale

models.html
Mars Rover Model Celebration
–
Lesson Plan
; Week 1; Lesson3
–
Grades 3

5
6
KEY VOCABULARY F
OR STUDENTS
calculate
represent
revolution
solar system
Additional Vocabulary for Students
orbit
planet
rotation
VOCABULARY F
OR TEACHERS
astrology
astronomy
astronomical unit
ellipse
focus
light minute
Mars Rover Model Celebration
–
Lesson Plan
; Week 1; Lesson3
–
Grades 3

5
7
APPENDIX
TEKS Details
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curriculum/Gr
35
/
Lesson_01
/
Lesson1
_
35
_TEKS.docx
Essential Question
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curriculum/Gr35/Lesson_01/Lesson1_35_EssentialQuestion.docx
Science Notebook
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curriculum/Gr35/Lesson_01/Lesson1_35_SciNotebook.docx
Vocabulary Definitions for Students
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curriculum/Gr
35
/
Lesson_01
/
Lesson1
_
35
_Definitions.docx
Vocabulary Definitions for Teachers
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curriculum/Gr35/Lesson_01/Lesson1_35_Teacher_Definitions.docx
Vocabulary Cards
o
Calculate
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curric
ulum/Gr35/Lesson_01/Lesson1_35_VocabCard_Calculate.pd
f
o
Represent
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curriculum/Gr35/Lesson_01/Lesson1_35_VocabCard_Repres
ent.p
df
o
Revolution
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curriculum/Gr35/Lesson_01/Lesson1_35_VocabCard_Revolution.
pdf
o
Solar System
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curriculum/Gr35/Lesson_01/Lesson1_35_VocabCard_SolarSystem
.pdf
Probes
o
Exit Ticket
http://marsrover.phys.uh.edu/curriculum/Gr35/Lesson_01/Lesson1_35_ExitTicket.docx
Additional NASA Resources for Teachers
http://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/ares/Education/Program/ExpMoon/DistanceMoon.pdf
http://amazing

space.stsci.edu/resources/exploratio
ns/trading/
http://discovery.nasa.gov/posterForm.cfml
http://eyeonthesky.org/lessonplans/05sun_daynight.html
http://marsrover.nasa.gov/classroom/pdfs/MSIP

MarsActivities.pdf#page=93
http://marsrover.nasa.gov/classroom/pdfs/MSIP

MarsActivities.pdf#page=118
http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/pdf/lesson_1.pdf
http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/docs/UnitPlanElementary.pdf#page=27
http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/docs/UnitPlanElementary.pdf#page=33
http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/docs/UnitPlanElementary.pdf#page=37
http://sdo.gs
fc.nasa.gov/assets/docs/UnitPlanSecondary.pdf#page=51%C2%A0
8
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