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.

PBS/NOVA – Galileo: Sun-Centered System Video

PBS/NOVA – Galileo: Sun-Centered System Video
(http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ess05.sci.ess.eiu.galileosys/galileo-sun-centered-system/)

Standards

4.8 The student will investigate and understand the relationships among Earth, the moon, and the sun. Key
concepts include
a) the motions of Earth, the moon, and the sun;
c) the causes for the phases of the moon;
d) the relative size, position, age, and makeup of Earth, the moon, and the sun; and
e) historical contributions in understanding the Earth-moon-sun system.

Summary

This video talks about Galileo, Copernicus, and Ptolemy, and how their insights and contributions helped to shape our understanding of the movements and orbits of our solar system. It shows the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems worked, and how Galileo used his telescopes to see phases of Venus in order to confirm his belief of a sun centered universe.

Why this is a quality resource

PBS/NOVA productions are always really quality educational videos. This one is a rather simple look at the contributions of Galileo, Copernicus, and Ptolemy, towards discovering the sun-centered universe, without getting too much into the heavy science of their discoveries. This video may be slightly above 4th grade level, but I thought the images and the narration were really good.

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.).