Universe Cycle - Solar System (2)
Post Lab 

   
OBJECTIVES:
  • Discovering the planets.
  • Exploring terrestrial and the gas planets.
VOCABULARY:
  • gas giants
  • moon
  • planet
  • ring
  • terrestrial
MATERIALS:

Students compare the gas and terrestrial planets on a data chart.

BACKGROUND:

Students should recognize that information on almost any aspect of astronomy is subject to change. Information on the planets will change as new space probes visit the planets.

This activity will emphasize that the planets fall into two compositional groups: the terrestrial (rock-like) planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Pluto) and the gas planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune). The background information in the Pre Lab exercise gives many details on the composition and features of the planets. You may wish to review this before doing the Post Lab.

PROCEDURE:
  1. In order for students to fill in the data sheets you may want to create stations around the classroom that will help the students learn about each planet. For instance, for Jupiter, you may want to make a station that says "Jupiter" and have 63 small gum balls (or any other object) to represent the moons of Jupiter. This way, as the students fill in the data chart they will have some information to guide them.

    Before the students begin working, go over each type of information they are to gather. A planet has a hydrosphere if it has surface water. An atmosphere is the layer of gas that surrounds a planetís surface. Quakes are movements of the planetís surface. Volcanoes on the surface may indicate shaking and quakes. Rings are bands of rock and frozen gas that surround a planet, usually above its equator. Moon means the planet has satellites revolving around it. Life means organisms exist on the planet, like we have on Earth.
     

  2. At each station, have the students color in the picture of each planet. You may want to give them the following hints to help them pick the correct colors.

    MERCURY - picture of fast runner (travels the quickest around the Sun); rock (terrestrial)
    VENUS - flames (hottest planet); cotton balls (shrouded in clouds); rock (terrestrial)
    EARTH - plants (life on planet); glass of water (only planet with water); rock (terrestrial)
    MARS - red soil (gives reddish color); rock (terrestrial)
    JUPITER - red eye (spot on Jupiter); gas balloon (gas planet); ring
    SATURN - rings; gas balloon (gas planet)
    URANUS - color green (appears green); gas balloon (gas planet)
    NEPTUNE - color blue (blue planet); gas balloon (gas planet)
    PLUTO - rock (terrestrial); ice cube (coldness of planet)

 

Mer.

Ven.

Ear.

Mars

Jup.

Sat.

Ura.

Nep.

Plu.

hydrosphere

no

no

yes

no

no

no

no

no

no

quakes

no

no

yes

yes

no

no

no

no

no

atmosphere

no

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

yes

rings

0

0

0

0

1

7

10

4

0

moons

no

no

1

2

63

47

27

13

3

life

no

no

yes

no

no

no

no

no

no

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