Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors - Oh My!
Within the vast expanses of our solar system, between the planets and beyond, amazing discoveries about asteroids, comets, and meteors are currently being made. Students will take on the role of working as an astronomer by using hands-on models to explore "small bodies" in our solar system, and will take a guided virtual tour. Throughout this interactive program, classes will have the opportunity to ask educators questions and engage in learning conversations.
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
This 45-minute program will begin with students traveling on a virtual expedition into our Solar System to explore impact craters on a mystery object, and how they compare to impact craters on Earth.
During the scale model investigation, they’ll place the cutouts of the objects on maps of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, and the United States to conceptualize and compare their sizes. They will also make inferences about how these objects’ surface and shape has been affected by impacts.
After exploring the scale of these objects, students will compare their orbits and make inferences about how an object’s orbit might affect its likelihood of impact. Students will then observe images of an impact on Jupiter’s surface to examine what impacts look like on gaseous planets. We will discuss whether all objects in the Solar System are affected by impacts, and what those impacts look like on different objects.
Finally, we will discuss why there are so many impact craters all over the Solar System and how we can predict when future impacts will occur on Earth.
This program is designed to be interactive in nature!
Students will have the opportunity to ask Academy science educators about their curiosities regarding the solar system.