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Earth in the Solar System (5-8)

* The earth is the third planet from the sun, the solar system includes the moon, the sun and seven other planets. The sun is an average size star.  * Most objects in the solar system are in regular, predicable motion. These motions explain our days, the year, phases of the moon and eclipses.  * Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the sun. Gravity holds us to the earth's surface and creates the tides.  * The sun is the major source of energy on the earth's surface. Seasons result from varying amounts of sunlight that hits the earth.  (NSES, 1996)

In the rectangle above, you will find the fundamental concepts and principles that underlie this standard. Below you will find a list of recommended "learning tools" for this standard. Just click the links within the descriptions. Numbers are for reference only. Use our "Tell a Friend" feature, at the bottom,  to send this page to a friend! 

1

Another incredible learning tool from Google, this one is called Google Sky. Google Sky Maps allows allows you to view celestial objects, including stars, constellations, galaxies, planets and the Earth's moon. Not sure how to start? Once you get to Google Sky, just click on the "Help" button. A fantastic way to explore the universe from your computer.

2

PhET is an amazing web site. This learning tool is called Gravity and Orbits and highlights the relationship between the sun, earth, and moon. Move the sun, earth, moon and space station to see how it affects their gravitational forces and orbital paths. Visualize the sizes and distances between different heavenly bodies, and turn off gravity to see what would happen without it! If you have Java, just click on RUN NOW. The main PhET site can be found here.

3

This is just an incredible learning tool from Microsoft called the WorldWide Telescope. Yes, it does require to download some software and yes, it is just for Windows at this point, but it is such an amazing tool. It is worth the time and effort. WorldWide Telescope enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky.

4

Generating and testing hypotheses is an important skill for young scientists. The name of this elegant and useful learning tool is called My Solar System, and is developed by the amazing PhET group. Build your own system of heavenly bodies and watch the gravitational ballet. With this orbit simulator, you can set initial positions, velocities, and masses of 2, 3, or 4 bodies, and then see them orbit each other.

5

The Powers of Ten is a wonderful "learning tool" to give students a perspective on earth and space, and our place in it. This "learning tool" comes to us from an elegant site for microscopy called Molecular Expressions.

6

This is a very clean and fun interactive about Seasons. ( once you click scroll down to Seasons Interactive). That our seasons come from the tilt of Earth’s axis relative to its orbit of the Sun is easy to grasp, once you have used this Interactive. It shows the flow of seasons as the planet orbits the Sun, the angle of the Sun’s rays for a given location on Earth, how temperature varies at that location, and how the Sun’s path varies in the sky by season. This is from Astronomy by John Fix.

7

 Planet 10 is a “learning tool” brought to us by Science Year, and it has two sections.  In the first, “Solar System Fly-through”, students virtually explore the planets, comets and asteroids.  In “World Builder”, the second section, students work their way through each of the creation screens choosing certain conditions that will ensure their planet is a successful place for life to grow and evolve. Just click PLAY when you get to the page. Shockwave required.

8

This very short, very elegant "learning tool" is called Moon Phases. This java applet takes a little while to download, but it can help students understand a very hard concept. This comes to us from the University of Wisconsin.

9

This "learning tool" is called Moon Phases.  One of the most innovative science education companies is Explorelearning.com, they call their simulations, Gizmos. They are a subscription site , but they allow you to see this Gizmo for 5 minutes.   Shockwave is required. Tech Note: Click your browser refresh button if you get an error message after loading.

10

The name of this learning tool is called Eclipse of the Moon. This concept can be difficult for students. This "learning tool" comes to us from an elegant site for microscopy called Molecular Expressions.

11

Paul Neave is an amazing interactive designer from Great Britain. The name of one of his learning tools is the Neave Planetarium. This virtual planetarium is elegant and conceptually accessible. One of the best we have seen, try it and see if you agree. To see more of Paul's amazing work go to Neave.com. Jen Thiel of Lenape Middle School recommended this site. Thanks.

12

 The name of this learning tool is Our Solar System. Our solar neighborhood is an exciting place. The Solar System is full of planets, moons, asteroids, comets, minor planets, and many other exciting objects. Learn about Io, the explosive moon that orbits the planet Jupiter, or explore the gigantic canyons and deserts on Mars. Developed by the web site called Astronomy for Kids.

13

 The name of this learning tool is the Sunaeon Solar System Simulator. Dramatic and well designed by Sunaeon. One of the best Solar System interactives on this planet!

14

Planet Size Comparison is a “learning tool” by Science NetLinks. It can be used to enhance students’ understanding of our solar system and to help them gain a better appreciation for the sizes of the nine planets, plus the sun and the earth’s moon.

15

Planetary Mysteries highlights the questions scientists still have about our solar system and each of its planets and then provides possible answers to those mysteries based on collected evidence.  This learning tool comes to us from American Museum of Natural History.

16

 This elegant and creative learning tool is called The Scale of the Universe. When you get to the site just click the "Start" button to enter this mind boggling tool that will help your students gain perspective on their world and the worlds that they cannot see. This wonderful tool was created my Cary and Mike Huang. More of their really fun and sophisticated work can be found at www.htwins.net .

17

Google continues to supply amazing tools for students and teachers. Google Mars has made a giant leap beyond even the moon to give Googlers their first close up of Mars. You don't get the complete picture, but the locations of pretty much every landing, successful or otherwise, are depicted along with many of the most important geographical features such as Valles Marineris.The images were snapped some 250 miles out.

18

The latest mission to Saturn and it's moon Titan, by NASA and ESA, was a spectacular success! The name of this "learning tool" is called Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan. This web site contains the incredible images this mission was able to capture. The web site is clear and easy to navigate for students. What an accomplishment! Developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. NASA continues to be a leader in science education for all of us!

19

Elegant and spectacular The Dynamic Earth from the National Museum of Natural History is an amazing "learning tool". This site is divided into four areas: Plate Tectonics and Volcanoes, The Solar System, Gems and Minerals, and Rocks and Mining. Using clear design and clever multimedia content, this is a must see for those studying geology. Produced by the Smithsonian.

20

The name of this wonderful web suite of learning tools is called the Tides.  This incredibly well designed science resource is divided into four sections: 1) Lesson, 2) Global Impact, 3) Explore, and Activities. Make sure that you visit all of them. This learning tool is from one of the leaders in science education the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Their clear vision and exciting design  help students learn science in innovative ways.

21

The name of this wonderful web suite of learning tools is called the Water Cycle. This incredibly well designed science resource is divided into four sections: 1) Lesson, 2) Global Impact, 3) Explore, and Activities. Make sure that you visit all of them. This learning tool is from one of the leaders in science education the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Their clear vision and exciting design  help students learn science in innovative ways.

22

Tides are an important concept for students to understand. One of the most innovative science education companies is Explorelearning.com, they call their simulations, Gizmos. They are a subscription site, but they allow you to see this Gizmo for 5 minutes. Just click on Tides to see their wonderful "learning tool".  Shockwave is required. Tech Note: Click your browser refresh button if you get an error message after loading. 

 

 

 

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