Extra Terrestial Excursions

D Bush

Description

Students calculate the length of time it would take to fly to each of the planets in the solar system if we could do so by conventional jet and with our fastest spacecraft.

Objectives

The student knows astronomical distance and time.

Materials

-Pencil
-Paper
-Calculator
-Planetary fact sheet with distances to each planet.(see attached file)

Preparations

Students should be introduced to and have adequate practice in solving simple speed problems. Speed is equal to the distance divided by the time.

Procedures

Ask students if they would like to take a trip to Mars or Venus. Allow a few minutes of discussion. Ask students if they know the length of time it would take to fly to each of the planets in the solar system if we could do so by conventional jet and with our fastest spacecraft. Again, allow for a few minutes of discussion. Explain to them that you will be working with them to calculate this time. Model the first calculation by:

1. Find the average distance from the earth to each planet and divide by the speed given. Be sure that the students move the decimal point the correct number of places. By dividing Km per hour into the number of Km to the planet, the Km will cancel and your answer will be in hours.

2. Next, divide the number of hours of travel by the number of hours in a day (24) to get the number of days of travel required.

3. Divide the number of days in a month(30) into the number of days of travel to find the number of months of travel.

4. Divide the number of months of travel by the number of months in a year(12) to get the years of travel.

5. After the students have found the number years of travel required to reach each planet have them add this number to their age in years and months to find how old they will be when they arrive at that planet.

6. Finally, you may want to have them repeat this process but use the speed of the fastest spacecraft.(40,000Km per hr.)

7. Distribute the worksheets in the associated file and let kids have fun as they complete them.

Assessments

Formative assessment will be based on the accuracy of the individual calculations on the worksheets in the associated file. Circulate and offer feedback as students work.

Extensions

As an extension to this activity, have the students divide the distance from the sun to each planet by one astronomical unit (150,000,000 kilometers) to find the number of astronomical units to each planet. Next, allow one meter to equal one-third of an astronomical unit (3meters = 1 A.U.) and take your students outside and measure the distance to each planet from the sun.

Attached Files

File Attachment     File Extension: pdf