Karen Curtin

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects


Creating the Solar System step by step part of Earth and Space Science:Summer 2010:Activities
The goal of this lesson is to encourage the clarification and understanding of the processes involved in the creation of our solar system. The lesson is part of a larger unit of astronomy which addresses the MA Science Curriculum Framework Standard concerning gravity and its' role in the formation of the planets, stars, and the solar system. The lesson is a springboard to other standards including; describing the layers of the earth lithosphere, mantle, and core, and differentiating among radiation, convection, and conduction- heat transfer in the earth's system. The lesson begins with a lecture describing the complex process of creation from molecular cloud to planetesimals to planets to organized solar system. The lecture is followed up with a draw/write activity in which the students are required to put in pictures or writing their interpretation of the series of steps that have been presented. The activity involves the students, working in pairs to create a visual model of one of the steps in the series. Their phase in the process will be assigned and the class as a whole will be creating a timeline in entirety. It is important to make clear that this process is not linear but certain steps overlap. In addition, this process is ongoing and is occurring in many places in the universe even today.