Scale Model of the Solar System Name: SOL G.14: The student will use proportional reasoning Name: to solve practical problems. INTRODUCTION Our concept of the solar system has changed greatly throughout history. From the early Greek’s geocentric models to Kepler’s Platonic Model, to a child’s toy, accuracy has been a challenge. Kepler’s Platonic Model Geocentric Model Junior Solar System Mobile Kit [ aka: a mathematical disaster ] Guinness World Records Limited has listed Richmond’s Grand Kugel, as world’s largest kugel by both diameter and weight. Located at the Science Museum of Virginia, the earth globe is a single piece of South African black granite polished into a sphere that is 29-tons and 2.653 m (8 feet 8 inches) in diameter. THE TASK Determine the exact diameters and possible locations of the sun and planets that would match the scale of the Grand Kugel. Find a graphic to represent each celestial body in your presentation. Use any digital presentation method to show your solution (Google Earth, PowerPoint, Prezzi, etc.) THE PROCESS 1. Use the given web resources to find the actual diameters and distances (to the sun) of the nine planets and sun. 2. Use the following procedure to “scale-down” the measurements found in step 1. Kugel ' s Diameter Earth ' s Diameter Scale Factor ____________________ real measurement scale factor " scaled down" measurement 3. Fill in the charts below. Actual Scaled Actual Diameter Scaled Diameter Distance to Sun Distance to Sun Sun 0 0 Mercury Venus Earth 8 feet 8 inches Mar Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto 4. Determine the exact locations (city and state) where you would place the sun and other eight planets based on the size and location of The Grand Kugel. (fill in the chart below) location city state Sun Mercury Venus Earth Richmond VA Mar Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto 5. Save pictures of the sun and nine planets onto your computer. Paste each picture into Google Earth at the locations you choose. 6. Create a sight-seeing tour on Google Earth and save your file. Turn this file in as your final project. RESOURCES Conversions: http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/ucg/index.html Unit Conversions - Metric System: http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/58340.html Choosing appropriate units: http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/64222.html Views of the Solar System: http://www.solarviews.com/eng/homepage.htm The Nine Planets – A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System: http://www.nineplanets.org/ Solar System Simulator: http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/ Solar System Exploration: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/index.cfm Powers of Ten: http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/ EVALUATION Topic of Evaluation # of Points per Total items item Points Actual Measurements 19 1 19 Scaled Measurements 18 1 18 Appropriate Units of 18 0.5 9 Scaled Measurements Locations 9 2 18 Correct location = 2 pts Incorrect location = 1 pt. Incomplete location = 0 pts. Presentation File 1 26 26 (no partial credit) Pictures included in the 10 1 10 presentation Total Points 100 CONCLUSION Size and distance is relative. Something seems big only when compared to something smaller. Is the Earth big? Is Pluto far away? How far is it to the nearest star? Could we possibly travel to that star? If so, how long would it take? These sound like the questions of a child, yet they are that very topics NASA currently is struggling with. I would pose one last question: If you wanted to hang an accurate mobile of the solar system in your classroom, how large (diameter) would you make the sun?
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