Quantitative Skills > Teaching Resources > Activities > Scaling Galileos Solar System - Locating the Globes

Scaling Galileo's Solar System - Locating the Globes

University of South Florida
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In this module, students plot the position of the model planets on a campus map, after calculating their positions from the scaled orbits and periods and converting from polar coordinates to Cartesian coordinates. Students recreate spreadsheets shown in the Powerpoint module on their own with formulas that answer various pieces of the overall question. This module is the fourth in a series of four on the Galilean Solar System.

Learning Goals

Context for Use

This module was designed to be used in an undergraduate mathematical geology class where students are asked to look at geological questions mathematically and may spend more time on the math than on the geology.

Teaching Notes and Tips

These modules were developed as essentially self-paced, take-home lab assignments. Students are supposed to work through the modules, slide by slide, building their own worksheets as they go along, taking note of instructions and prompts, hints, and queries.

Students must have access to computers equipped with a spreadsheet program such as Excel.

Teaching Materials

This module is one of several developed by Dr. Vacher. The module presentation can be found at http://www.evergreen.edu/washcenter/modules/moduleList.asp

The Powerpoint file is considered to be the student version. There is also an instructor's version that has active spreadsheets in it. There are instructions for requesting this version on the website.


The easiest way to test student work on this module is to ask students to hand in a copy of their worksheets starting with a different set of input data. The module also ends with homework assignment questions.

References and Resources

Polya, 1957

Contact the Author

Please contact the author with questions or suggestions.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

Subject: Geoscience:Lunar and Planetary Science
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity
Special Interest: Quantitative
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14)
Quantitative Skills: Graphs, Geometry and Trigonometry, Models and Modeling, Problem Solving
Ready for Use: Ready to Use
Topics: Solar system
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Planetary Science

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