Amazing Space: The Solar System Trading Card Game

Amazing Space: The Solar System Trading Card Game
(http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/resources/explorations/trading/)

Standards:

VA SOL

4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include
a) the planets in the solar system;
b) the order of the planets in the solar system; and
c) the relative sizes of the planets.

Summary:

Created by the Formal Education Group of the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach, this mini game is a fun way to test your knowledge of planetary/solar system facts. By answering each of twelve trivia questions correctly, the player “collects” the trading card that the question was attached to. When you answer the question correctly, it gives you a host of facts about that planet. When you get a question wrong, it gives you a definition of each of the multiple choice answers so that you have a better understanding of the question. Once you’ve collected a trading card, you can click on it again to be directed to the fact page for review.

Why this is a quality resource

This site would be a great review tool after a lesson on the solar system. It could be used individually, or done as a class via a projector. While some of the “correct answer fact pages” seem to be a bit above the 4th grade level when conveying planetary facts (http://read-able.com says average 7th grade level), it still uses big images and some easy-to-understand vocabulary and headings. Within the correct answer pages, blue linked glossary terms have pop-up definitions which aid in understanding more complex vocabulary.

Astronomy For Kids

Astronomy For Kids
(http://www.frontiernet.net/~kidpower/astronomy.html)

This page has an average grade level of about 4.
It should be easily understood by 9 to 10 year olds.

Readability Indices
Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease 83.2
Flesch Kincaid Grade Level 3.6
Gunning Fog Score 5.2
SMOG Index 4.1
Coleman Liau Index 6.3
Automated Readability Index 0.2

Text Statistics
No. of sentences 10
No. of words 79
No. of complex words 4
Percent of complex words 5.06%
Average words per sentence 7.90
Average syllables per word 1.37

http://read-able.com


Standards:

4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include
a) the planets in the solar system;
b) the order of the planets in the solar system; and
c) the relative sizes of the planets.

Summary:

A bare-bones website with valuable factual information about the solar system written at a level that is accessible to 4th graders.

Why this is a quality resource:

This site would be great for “research projects” and fact finding as it breaks down important facts about the solar system, planets, and other celestial objects into simple language. This was another site that I was linked to from the National Science Digital Library and I included it for its age-appropriate writing style and it’s foundational information. There are some visuals, but not a lot. The text is large and easy to read. There is also a dictionary with many glossary terms, which would only be better if the terms were linked between the glossary and the other pages that use them.

ScienceLinks: Planet Size Comparison

Science Links: Planet Size Comparison
(http://sciencenetlinks.com/interactives/messenger/psc/PlanetSize.html)

Standards:

4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include
a) the planets in the solar system;
c) the relative sizes of the planets.

4.8 The student will investigate and understand the relationships among Earth, the moon, and the sun. Key concepts include
d) the relative size, position, age, and makeup of Earth, the moon, and the sun.

Summary

This is a pretty straight-forward resource. Through drop-downs, students can select any two planets who’s sizes they would like to compare. In between those drop downs, they can click on the word “Compare” to draw up the comparison.

Each planet is displayed visually according to scale so that you can see the size difference between the various planets. Below the images is a display of each planet’s diameter (it defaults to kilometers but you can change it to miles) and the comparison ratio.

The quality of the images is not great and the planets are somewhat pixelated, but the concept of sizes is really what is important and it does a great job of visually representing the disparities.

Why this is a quality resource

I was linked to this resource via The National Science Digital Library, and thought it would be a great way to drive home visual representations of size in the solar system. Though some concepts may be above a 4th grade level in terms of math, the teacher could also tie this into math lessons (displaying ratios, decimals as fractions, etc.).