Online Exploration: Planet Impact

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The Online Exploration Planet Impact includes several modules
(“What's Your Angle,” “Step on it,” “Pick a Comet — Any Comet,” “It's a Matter of Mass,” and “Target Practice”)
as well the “Comet News” (articles 1-8).

Planet Impact Modules Education Standards
Grade level: 5-8 —Target grade: 7
Learning Outcomes National Science Education Standards Project 2061 Standards

After completing these modules, students will learn about the variables that affect the gravitational force on an object and how changing the variables affects it.

Content Standard B: Physical Science.
As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop an understanding of motions and forces.

  • An object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed and in a straight line.
  • More than one force acting on an object along a straight line will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude. Unbalanced forces will cause changes in the speed or direction of an object's motion.

4. The Physical Setting:
G. Forces of Nature.

By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that:

  • Every object exerts gravitational force on every other object. The force depends on how much mass the objects have and on how far apart they are. The force is hard to detect unless at least one of the objects has a lot of mass.

F. Motion.
By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that:

  • An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both. If the force acts toward a single center, the object's path may curve into an orbit around the center.

Students will use the module simulations to conduct a scientific investigation to identify and control the variables that affect gravitational force.

Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry.
As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry.

  • Design and conduct scientific investigation. Students should develop general abilities, such as systematic observation, making accurate measurements, and identifying and controlling variables. They should also develop the ability to clarify their ideas that are influencing and guiding the inquiry, and to understand how those ideas compare with current scientific knowledge. Students can learn to formulate questions, design investigations, execute investigations, interpret data, use evidence to generate explanations, propose alternative explanations, and critique explanations and procedures.
  • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations. Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment. Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of the relationship between two or more variables.

“Comet News” Articles 1-8 Education Standards
Grade level: 5-8 —Target grade: 7
Learning Outcomes National Science Education Standards Common Core Standards for English Language Arts

Students will learn the process of discovery and the scientific significance of the crash of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter.

Content Standard G: History and Nature of Science.
As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understandings of the history and nature of science.

  • Many individuals have contributed to the traditions of science. Studying some of these individuals provides further understanding of scientific inquiry, science as a human endeavor, the nature of science and society.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard for Reading

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3 — Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Additional information for using this Online Exploration

Students should:

  • Understand that the solar system consists of planets, moons, asteroids, meteoroids, comets, and the Sun.
  • Understand that objects have mass.
  • Be able to read grade-level appropriate material.

Common misconceptions
Students may think that:

  • Gravity exists only on Earth.
  • Weight and mass are the same.

Teacher Pages Index
| Description/Lesson Overview | How to prepare for an "Online exploration" | Subject | Concepts | Prerequisites | Process Skills Acquired | Target Audience/Grade Levels | Preparation Time | Execution Time | Field Test | Last Update |
| Science Background | Words from the Scientist | References |
| Goal/Purpose | Desired Learning Outcomes | Prerequisites | New Vocabulary | General Misconceptions | Preparation Time | Execution Time | Physical Layout of the Room | Materials | Procedure/Directions | Evaluation/Assessment | Follow-up Activities/Interdisciplinary | One-Computer Classrooms | Classrooms without Computers | Home Schooler | Make It My Lesson | Extensions
Learning objectives matched with relevant education standards.
| Downloadable Documents | Other Resources Related to the Lesson | Other Resources Available at the Institute | Other Resources Available Outside the Institute | Books and Other Printed Material |
Information about the authors.
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