Small objects in the solar system

Teacher Tip: There will be pauses during the recordings to make observations or think about a question. Think about how you would like student to share their ideas/observations/questions with you during theses times.

Within the vast expanse of our solar system, between the planets and beyond, amazing discoveries are being made about asteroids, comets, and meteors. In this program, students became astronomers for the day by using hands-on models to explore "small bodies" in our solar system, and taking a guided virtual tour of this system we call home. Throughout this interactive program, classes around the world had multiple opportunities to ask Academy educators questions, and engage in scientific conversations with our experts!

This program integrates the Next Generation Science Standards by focusing on:

  • Crosscutting Concept: Scale, Proportion and Quantity
  • Science and Engineering Practice: Developing and Using Models



What happened during this Special Live Event
Small objects in our solar system

In this 45-minute program, student traveled on a virtual expedition within our Solar System to explore impact craters on  mystery objects, and how they compare to impact craters on Earth.

bet36体育在线真的吗During the scale model investigation, they placed the cutouts of these objects on maps of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, and the United States to conceptualize and compare their sizes. Students then made inferences about how the objects’ surface and shape has been affected by impacts.

After exploring the scale of these objects, students then compared their orbits and extrapolate further about how an object’s orbit might affect the likelihood of impact. Students observed images of an impact on Jupiter’s surface to examine what impacts look like on gaseous planets.

Finally, as a learning community, we discussed our collected evidence to hypothesize if we think all objects in the Solar System are affected by impacts.

Materials to Prepare

We ask that students are split up into groups of 2-3 to have working partners throughout the program.

Print for each working group:

  • cut around black edges (A - D)

The Academy educators will instruct when and how to use the materials.

Extended Learning

Pre-program activity: bet36体育在线真的吗While strongly recommended is not required to participate!

  • Sorting the Solar System (30 min) activity will give students an opportunity to practice sorting the objects in the solar system by characteristics used by scientists.

Post-program activity:

  • Watch Incoming! planetarium show. Embark on a journey back in time and across the Solar System, following the paths of asteroids and comets that have collided with Earth—and those that roam far from home.
Grades: 4th Grade - 7th Grade
Program Duration: 45 minutes
Price: Free