Use of Multimedia Materials Science: The Solar System Essay
The topic for this project will be about science, specifically, on the solar system (SS). At the end of the lesson, the students should be able to: 1) Explain briefly how the solar system was formed 2) List the other components of the solar system 3) Identify the nine planets of the solar system according to their position from the sun; 4) Classify the planets according to their position in relation to the sun; 5) Demonstrate how the planets move around the sun; and 6) Formulate a table that shows at least three facts about each planet.
The lesson on the solar system will be taught to secondary grade level students. The following list of multimedia materials will be used to enhance the students’ interests in the lesson.
Multimedia Materials List
1. Video (2)
a) Roving Mars (DVD)
§ A IMAX documentary that shows the surface of Mars as if the viewer was really in it. The pictures were taken via two space rovers that studied the surface of Mars.
§ Source: Local video shop
§ Reference: Swofford, S., F. Marshall (Producers) & G. Butler (Director) (2006). Roving Mars [Documentary]. Walt Disney Pictures.
b) The Voyage to the Planets & Beyond (DVD)
§ A one hour and forty minute movie that shows a fictional journey of a team of astronauts to the planets, including the sun. It also depicts how the astronauts could survive through long periods of space flight.
§ Source: Local video shop
§ Reference: Haines, T. (Producers) & J. Ahearne (Director) (1986). The Voyage to the Planets & Beyond [Motion picture]. British Broadcasting Co.
2. Pictures (19)
a) Solar System
§ A picture of the solar system in one line to show the difference in sizes of the sun and the planets.
§ Reference: Solar System. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.popularphilosophy.com/display/ShowImage?imageUrl=/resource/Solar.System.jpg%3FuserId%3D4452%26fileId%3D76243&imageTitle=Solar.System.jpg
b) Planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto)
§ Pictures of the eight planets and the dwarf planet, Pluto.
o Earth [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/earth.html
o Mars [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/mars/mars.html
o Mercury [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/mercury/mercury.html
o Neptune [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/neptune/neptune.html
o Jupiter [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/jupiter/jupiter.html
o Pluto [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/pluto/pluto.html
o Saturn [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/saturn/saturn.html
o Uranus [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/uranus/uranus.html
o Venus [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/venus/venus.html
§ A picture of the asteroid Gaspra. Asteroids are mostly found at the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is believed that the asteroid belt is the remains of a planet.
§ Resource: NASA/JPL. (Photographer). (1991). Galileo image of Gaspra [Photograph], Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/our_solar_system/asteroids.html
§ The picture is part of the Leonid Meteor Shower in November 1998. Meteors are also known as ‘falling stars’, though they aren’t stars at all.
§ Resource: Lovato, Lorenzo. (Photographer). (1998). Meteor [Photograph], Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/our_solar_system/meteors/meteors.html
§ The picture is of the Hale-Bopp comet, one of the brightest comets seen from Earth. Comets are blocks of ice that periodically pass by Earth and other planets.
§ Resource: Fukushima, H., M Takata, and D Kinshita. (Photographers). (1997). Hale-Bopp Comet [Photograph], Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/headline_universe/space_science/Hale-Bopp_March7_image.html
§ The biggest star in the center of the solar system. The nine planets revolve around it.
§ Resource: NASA. (Photographers). (1973). Sun [Photograph], Retrieved August 12, 2007, from: http://www.solarviews.com/cap/sun/sun.htm
g) Types of Galaxies (Elliptical, Spiral, Lenticular, Irregular)
§ The galaxies are divided into four types according to their shapes. Our solar system is located in the Milky Way Galaxy, a spiral galaxy.
o Anglo-Australian Observatory. (Photographers). Irregular Galaxy [Photograph], Retrieved August 12, 2007, from: http://physics.uwyo.edu/~stark/outreach/galaxy/irregular/uks014.jpg
o Carollo, M. (ETHZ) and H. Heritage (NASA). (Photographers). (2002). NGC 2787: A Barred Lenticular Galaxy [Photograph], Retrieved August 12, 2007, from: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap020408.html
o Messier 32 [Photograph], Retrieved August 12, 2007, from: http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m032.html
o NASA. (Photographers). Andromeda Galaxy [Photograph], Retrieved August 12, 2007, from: http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/universe_level2/andromeda_galaxy.html
h) Mars [Photograph]. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from: http://www.windows Surface of Mars
§ A picture that shows the surface of Mars.
§ Resource: NASA. (Photographers). Mars Surface [Photograph], Retrieved August 12, 2007, from: http://physics.uwyo.edu/~stark/outreach/galaxy/irregular/uks014.jpg
3. Text (2)
a) Incomplete handouts
§ The handout will have blanks which the students will fill out as they listen to the lesson.
o Frommert, H. and C. Kronberg (2007, July 12). Galaxies. Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.seds.org/messier/galaxy.html
o LaRocco, C. and B. Rothstein (1998, January). The Big Bang: It sure was big. Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/bigbang.htm
o Wallace, Timothy (2000). A Theory of Creation: A Response to the Pretense that No Creation Theory Exists. Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.trueorigin.org/creatheory.asp
o Windows to the Universe (2004). Solar System. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/our_solar_system/solar_system.html
b) Time Magazine article: The greatest show in space
§ This article talks about supernovas. It also contains an artist’s illustration of a supernova, as well as a diagram of how supernovas occur.
§ Resource: Kluger, J. (2007, May 10). The Greatest Show in Space. Time.
c) Printed article: Pluto demoted – no longer a Planet!
§ This article may be printed and presented to the class as extra reading. It is an article about Pluto and the circumstances involving its being declared as not a planet anymore.
§ Resource: Windows to the Universe (2006). Pluto demoted – no longer a Planet! Retrieved August 11, 2007, from http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/headline_universe/solar_system/stories_2006/pluto_nonplanet_aug_2006.html
4. Tangible artifacts (9)
a) Big beach ball, basketball, volleyball (2), marbles (2), tennis balls (3)
§ These things would help the students visualize the difference in sizes of the planets. The marbles will represent Mercury and Pluto. The tennis balls will represent Venus, Earth and Mars. The beach ball will represent Jupiter while the basketball will represent Saturn. Lastly, the two volleyballs will represent Uranus and Neptune.
§ Source: From school gym.
The Voyage to the Planets & Beyond will be used to introduce the solar system topic. This movie is one hour and forty minutes long and shows a fictional journey of a team of astronauts to the planets, including the sun. It also depicts how the astronauts could survive through long periods of space flight. An additional DVD, Roving Mars, may be shown to the class after the discussion of the inner planets. There will be a blowup picture of the solar system as well as pictures of each of the nine planets and the sun. Handouts with blanks on the solar system will be provided. It would contain information on the lesson like facts on the sun, the planets, and other components of the solar system. The blanks on the handouts would motivate the students to listen for the missing words, thus making them more attentive. A printed article on the demotion of Pluto as a planet will also be included for extra reading. To further demonstrate the differences in sizes of the planets, the different sized balls may be used as a final illustration.
The lesson will begin by watching the movie, The Voyage to the Planets and Beyond DVD. The teacher can then use the movie as a jump point for the lesson, which is about the solar system. Then, towards the end of the movie, the blowup picture of the solar system may be placed in front of the class, without disturbing them from the movie. After the movie, the incomplete handouts should be given to the students for them to complete via listening to the discussion.
Teacher: Alright class, based from the movie that we watched, can anyone tell me what our lesson for today is?
Student: (possible answers) Space, solar system, planets, stars.
T: That’s right. So, as you’ve seen in the movie, the solar system is a really huge place. First of all, it consists of a huge star in the middle. What is the name of this star?
T: Very good! Now, revolving around this sun are nine planets. What are these? (At this point, the teacher should write the planets enumerated by the students on the board)
T: Alright. Before we talk about the planets in depth, let’s just consider first how the solar system was formed. Here is a really short video clip to give you an idea. Now, we’ll discuss two theories that try to explain the origin of the solar system. The first theory is the Big Bang Theory. Can someone please read the description of this theory from their handout?
T: Ok, thank you. The Big Bang Theory was formulated by Edwin Hubble. In a nutshell, the theory says that the universe began with a huge explosion 15 billion years ago. Since then, the universe has been expanding. Hubble stated this when he saw that the velocity of the galaxies is proportional to its distance (LaRocco and Rothstein, 1998). This means that the galaxies are moving farther and farther away. This phenomenon is called the red shift.
T: The next theory is the Creation Theory. Does anyone have an idea about this theory?
T: Ok. Thank you. The Creation theory simply states that One Being, or God, created the whole universe. The origin of this theory is from the Bible (Wallace, 2007). Now, did everyone understand the two theories?
T: With that, let me show you some pictures of galaxies. (Show pictures of the four types of galaxies). Galaxies are huge star systems and other interstellar matter. They contain several million to trillion stars of varying masses that could be million or trillion times the sun. As you can see, these galaxies have different shapes. This is because galaxies are classified according to their shape. This one is an elliptical galaxy. They may look round, but they are actually ellipse in shape. There isn’t much activity here, compared to these three others. The next one is the spiral galaxy. This is actually a picture of the Andromeda galaxy. Such galaxies are usually composed of two parts: the large flat disk in the middle and these spiral patterns. The middle is composed of interstellar matter like dark dust clouds while the spiral patterns consists of star clusters. The next type of galaxy is the lenticular galaxy. This is a bit like a spiral galaxy only it doesn’t have the spiral patterns. These galaxies consist of old stars and are usually hard to distinguish from elliptical galaxies. This last one is an irregular galaxy. Its irregular shape is partly due to the gravitational pull of other galaxies near it. Galaxies that do not have disc or ellipse shapes are classified as such (Frommert and Kronberg, 2007).
T: Now, our solar system is included in a spiral galaxy called the Milky Way. Can you imagine how small the planets in our solar system are compared to the galaxies?
T: With that, let’s start discussing our solar system. As you’ve seen in the picture (show the solar system again), the sun is the center of our solar system and is the closest star to Earth. (Show picture of the sun) It is light from the Sun that heats Earth and makes it possible for life to exist. The Sun also emits sunspots and solar flares since it is an active star.
T: The planet nearest the sun is Mercury. (Show picture of Mercury). It is a bit bigger than the Earth’s Moon and its surface is also full of craters. It’s also very hot there with temperatures reaching over 800oF. Scientists know very little of this planet since it is very hard to see it and because only one spacecraft has studied it.
T: (Show picture of Venus) What is the name of this planet? That’s right, Venus. From Earth, it is the brightest object in our sky aside from the sun and moon. It is sometimes called the Morning Star. The surface of Venus is also filled with craters although we cannot see this because it is covered with thick clouds. It also has volcanoes, mountains, and lava plains. It’s also unable to support life since its atmosphere is 90 times heavier than on earth and is filled with sulfuric clouds. In addition, it is also still very hot in Venus. This planet does not have any moons.
T: This is the next planet, Earth (Show Earth). What can you tell me about Earth? (The students can just describe what Earth is)
T: The next planet is very red. What is the name of this planet? (Show the picture of Mars when the students say its name) Mars resembles the features of Earth in some ways. (Show picture of Mars Surface) Doesn’t it just look like a picture from a desert here on Earth? There are also volcanoes, canyons, cratered terrain and river beds and dune fields in Mars. The color of the planet is red because of rust in the soil. Its atmosphere has high carbon dioxide content but little oxygen, unlike in our planet. It also has two moons.
T: Now, the four planets we discussed are called inner planets. Beyond the inner planets, there is an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. These asteroids are believed to have been the remains of a planet. (show asteroid picture) There is very little chance that asteroids would hit Earth, although there are instances when some has come very close.
T: Beyond the asteroid belt are the outer planets. These are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. These planets evolved differently from the interior planets. Thus, they have less solid material than the interior planets. (Show picture of Jupiter) Jupiter is the biggest planet in the solar system. It has 63 moons and its atmosphere is primarily made up of simple molecules like hydrogen and helium. It has a dynamic atmospheric motion, like storms, and this is responsible for Jupiter’s magnetosphere, which is the largest in the solar system. It is also because of this magnetosphere that it is able to hold its 63 moons. Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are the names of four of Jupiter’s most famous moons.
T: Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun. This planet is known for this set of rings surrounding it. Saturn has 59 moons. Its composition is the same as Jupiters’. It is less colorful than Jupiter because its atmosphere is mostly sulfur. Also, the weather here would be the same, stormy and windy.
T: The seventh planet from the sun is Uranus. Like Saturn, it has a ring although it is very faint. It also supports 27 known moons. Its interior is mostly methane ice, smoke and ethane. Although not very obvious, it is also stripped because its wind pattern is the same as Jupiter’s and Saturn’s.
T: As of last year, Neptune is the last planet of the solar system. (show picture of Neptune) I’ll tell you why later. This planet has the same composition as Uranus and also has a faint ring made up of rocks and dust. Neptune has 13 moons, the largest of which is Triton. This moon is a very cold place that is why it is covered with ice. There are geysers here, though, and scientists speculate there may be water under the ice. Such would mean there might be life in that water.
T: As I said, Neptune is the last planet of the solar system. I’ll give you 5 minutes to browse through the article on Pluto so you can tell me the reason for that statement. (After 5 minutes) Alright, who can tell me what’s happened to Pluto?
T: That’s right. As of August last year, it was declared that Pluto is no longer a planet, but a dwarf planet. Essentially, Pluto is a member of a class of icy spheres known as Kuiper Belt Objects. Despite being such, it does have 3 moons, one of which, Charon, is nearly as big as Pluto.
T: As we are nearing the end of our discussion, I just would like to add that the planets have different orbits and varying velocities as they revolve around the sun. It is because of that that the planets do not crash into each other. These orbits are very important, for if the planets suddenly changed their orbits, there is a chance that they would bump into each other. Hopefully, this mobile would help you visualize the orbits of the different planets around the sun.
T: Before we end, does anyone know the difference between meteoroids, meteors and comets? Alright, meteoroids are dusts or small pieces of rocks that are scattered throughout space. They become meteors as they enter Earth’s atmosphere and are seen as streaks of light in the sky. These are what we commonly call shooting stars. On the other hand, comets are lumps of ice coming from the outer reaches of the solar system. When comets come close to the sun, the heat from it makes the comets evaporate and jets of gas and dust result, which we see as the tails of the comets. Here I have a picture of Hale-Bopp, one of the brightest comets that can be seen from Earth. Of course, there are other famous comets like Halley (Windows to the Universe, 2004).
T: There ends our discussion on the solar system. Does anyone have any question?
T: I hope you enjoyed the lesson.
Frommert, H. and C. Kronberg (2007, July 12). Galaxies. Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.seds.org/messier/galaxy.html
LaRocco, C. and B. Rothstein (1998, January). The Big Bang: It sure was big. Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/bigbang.htm
Wallace, Timothy (2000). A Theory of Creation: A Response to the Pretense that No Creation Theory Exists. Retrieved August 12, 2007, from http://www.trueorigin.org/creatheory.asp
Windows to the Universe (2004). Solar System. Retrieved August 11, 2007, from http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/our_solar_system/solar_system.html