For Upper Elementary and Middle School Students
So What All Is Out There, Anyway?" is in Adobe Reader (.pdf) format.
other lessons open as Microsoft Word documents. This allows teachers to
changes and adaptations for their particular classrooms. Adobe Reader
of these lessons are available on the Adobe
page. You can download the
Adobe Reader program here.
Introductory Lesson: So What All Is Out There,
This short article for students presents an overview of the Visible
It is a good introduction to the unit.
Lesson Plan for Teachers
the above article. Students place different astronomical distances in
order from shortest to greatest..
Part 1: Colonize the Solar System
Students select a planet
or moon in our solar system and design a space colony capable of
supporting human life on it. Part 1 focuses on astronomy and the solar
Part 2: Build Your Own Planet
choose different physical properties of an extra solar planet that they
will explore in the hopes of discovering life on it. Part 2 explores
of the basic themes of astrobiology.
Links and Resources
The Planet Temperature Calculator
(The program requires Macromedia's Flash
This program was created
use by students working on Part 2 of this unit. It calculates a rough
approximation of the average surface temperature of a planet based on 4
characteristics: the mass of the star that the planet is orbiting, the
distance from that star, the bond albedo of the planet and the
effect of the planet's atmosphere. The program opens in a new window.
Parts 1 & 2 are designed to be taught
sequentially, but either part can be taught as an individual unit.
introductory lesson works well
with Part 1 or Part 2.
The development of these lessons has been
funded through an EPO supplement to research
grant NAG5-11964 Durisen from NASA's Origins of Solar Systems Program. Permission is granted to
reproduce the lessons contained on this web site for educational or
other non-commercial use. Commercial use of these pages is prohibited
the prior written consent of Glenn
Background images courtesy of NASA/JPL
Last updated January 23, 2008.