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Transcript
OUTSIDE THE SOLAR SYSTEM
UNIT OVERVIEW The universe is an incomprehensibly large space. It is filled with countless
stars, galaxies, and other features. The Outside the Solar System unit helps
students understand more about what lies beyond the reaches of our solar
system, in deep space. The unit addresses the life cycle of stars, the existence
of faraway planets and planetary systems, nebulas, supernovas, black holes,
and galaxies. It also discusses the history of space exploration and theories
about the origins of the universe.
Certain reading resources are provided at three reading
levels within the unit to support differentiated instruction.
Other resources are provided as a set, with different titles
offered at each reading level. Dots on student resources
indicate the reading level as follows:
low reading level
middle reading level
high reading level
THE BIG IDEA
s long as humans have existed, we have looked into the night sky with
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curiosity and wonder. At this point in history, we are fortunate to benefit
from technology that allows us to see and study parts of the universe that
earlier cultures never could have. However, we are also limited by our
current knowledge and technology. As time marches on, humankind will
continue to pursue an understanding of the universe and its many amazing
features. Someday—perhaps even in students’ lifetimes—we may get
answers to some key questions, including how the universe began and
whether life exists anywhere beyond Earth.
Other topics
This unit also addresses topics such as: measuring great distances, exoplanets,
telescopes, the Voyager program, and products developed as a result of space
exploration.
SPARK
he spark is designed to get students thinking about the unit’s topics and
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to generate curiosity and discussion.
Materials
© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
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posters of deep-space features or computer with Internet connection
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projector or interactive whiteboard (optional)
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Outside the Solar System
UNIT GUIDE
Activity
Discuss students’ prior knowledge of our solar system and then ask what
exists beyond it. Explain to students that the images you are going to show
are photos and/or illustrations of features found in deep space—the area
beyond our solar system.
Display a variety of colorful images of features from deep space for the class.
Viewing will be easiest if you obtain large posters or can display Web pages
on a projector screen or interactive whiteboard. Many great space images
can be found online, including in the archive of the Astronomy Picture of
the Day, which is hosted by NASA: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/archivepix.html
While each image is displayed, invite students to describe what they see,
including what they think the image shows, what makes the image interesting,
how they think the subject of the image formed, how large they think the
subject of the image might be, what else the image looks like, and any other
observations they wish to share. You can have students respond to each
image orally and/or in a science journal with a brief written response and
an accompanying sketch.
Although you may want to share more information about each image after
the discussion, the focus of this task does not have to be a deep understanding
of what each picture shows. Instead, this spark is intended to simply get
students excited to learn about the amazing features in the universe.
Below are questions to spark discussion.
Which features that you saw would you most want to see in person if you
could travel into space? Why?
Which of the features that you saw can be seen with just your eyes, and
which would require special tools? What kinds of tools?
Do you think you will ever be able to go into space during your lifetime?
Why or why not?
If there were students in a classroom on some faraway planet, do you think they
would be interested in seeing pictures from our solar system? Which parts?
Use this activity to begin an introductory discussion about the universe.
Throughout the unit, students will learn more about space exploration
and what lies outside the solar system.
Many of the unit’s vocabulary terms are related to the spark activity and can
be introduced during the spark. For vocabulary work, see the Vocabulary
section in this Unit Guide.
© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
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Outside the Solar System
UNIT GUIDE
PRIOR
KNOWLEDGE
I nvite students to explain their understanding of what our solar system
consists of and what exists beyond it. Discuss what space looks like from
Earth and what it might look like if people could travel into deep space.
Probing Questions to Think About
Use the following questions to have students begin thinking of what they
know about what lies outside the solar system.
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hat is inside our solar system? How do the different parts move
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in relation to one another?
What is outer space made of?
What is the difference between a planet and a star?
Which is larger, a planet or a star? A solar system or a galaxy?
Are the planets in our solar system the only planets in the universe?
What else would you see in outer space besides stars and planets?
How big is our solar system compared to the Milky Way Galaxy?
How big is the Milky Way Galaxy compared to the whole universe?
What dangers might you face if you traveled deep into space?
Have people ever left Earth? Where have they gone?
How do we know what exists far out in space if we’ve never been there?
Tell students they will learn more about these topics soon.
UNIT MATERIALS Each unit provides a wide variety of resources related to the unit topic.
Students may read books and other passages, work in groups to complete
hands-on experiments and investigations, discuss science ideas as a class,
watch videos, complete writing tasks, and take assessments.
Resources are available for printing or projecting, and many student
resources are also available for students to access digitally on
.
Selected unit resources are available in more than one language.
For a complete list of materials provided with the unit, see the Outside
the Solar System unit page on the Science A–Z website.
VOCABULARY Use the terms below for vocabulary development throughout the unit.
Cut or Fold
Outside the Solar System
astronaut
(noun)
WORD CARD
Outside the Solar System
someone trained to
travel and perform
tasks in space
DEFINITION CARD
$
Outside the Solar System
astronomer
(noun)
Outside the Solar System
a scientist who studies
planets, stars, galaxies,
and other objects
in space
WORD CARD
DEFINITION CARD
$
Outside the Solar System
Outside the Solar System
a theory that suggests
big bang theory
(noun)
They can be found in boldface in the Nonfiction Book, the Quick Reads,
and/or other unit resources. These terms and definitions are available
on Vocabulary Cards for student practice. Additional vocabulary lists are
provided in the teaching tips for Investigation Packs and FOCUS Books.
that the universe began
from a single, enormous
explosion and is still
Core Science Terms
expanding
WORD CARD
© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
DEFINITION CARD
www.sciencea-z.com
© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
These terms are crucial to understanding the unit.
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Outside the Solar System
UNIT GUIDE
astronomer
a scientist who studies planets, stars, galaxies, and other
objects in space
big bang theory a theory that suggests that the universe began from a single,
enormous explosion and is still expanding
black hole
a region of space with a gravitational field so intense that
nothing can escape it
cluster
a close group of similar objects
cosmologist
a scientist who studies the origin and structure of the
universe
deep space
t he open areas between solid bodies in the universe beyond
the solar system
exoplanet
any planet that exists outside the solar system
galaxy
a large collection of planets, gas, dust, and millions
or billions of stars, bound together by gravity
light-year
a unit of distance in astronomy equal to the distance that
light travels in one year
luminosity
a measure of the amount of radiating or reflected light
coming off a star or other celestial object; brightness
nebula
a region or cloud of interstellar dust and gas appearing
as a bright or dark patch
orbit
to revolve around another object
solar system
a star and the celestial bodies that revolve around it;
a planetary system
star
a body in outer space, made of hot gases, that shines
in the night sky
supernova
t he death explosion of a massive star, resulting in a sharp
increase in brightness followed by a gradual fading
telescope
an instrument used to make distant objects look closer
Other Key Science Terms
The following vocabulary is not essential for comprehending the unit
but may enrich students’ vocabulary.
astronaut
someone trained to travel and perform tasks in space
constellation
a group of stars that forms a shape and is named for
that shape
cosmos
the whole universe
elliptical galaxy an oval-shaped galaxy
© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
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Outside the Solar System
UNIT GUIDE
gravity
t he force that draws objects toward the center of Earth
or any other large celestial body
irregular galaxy a galaxy without a regular shape
life cycle
t he stages of change that something goes through
as time passes
mass
the measure of the amount of matter in an object
matter
anything that takes up space and has weight
Milky Way
Galaxy
the galaxy that includes the Sun and our solar system
planet
a celestial body in orbit around a star
spacecraft
a vehicle used for traveling in space
spiral galaxy
a galaxy with curved arms that extend from a central axis
universe
all things that exist in space
Vocabulary Activities
OUTSIDE
THE SOLA
________
________
R SYST
EM
________
________
________
_______
Date ____
________
____
Nam e
1
Crosswo
rd
2
3
You may choose to introduce all the terms that will be encountered in the
unit before assigning any of the reading components. Vocabulary Cards with
the key science terms and definitions are provided. Dots on the cards indicate
the reading levels of the Nonfiction Book or the Quick Reads in which each term
can be found. If all level dots appear, the term may come from another
resource in the unit. Students can use these cards to review and practice the
terms in small groups or pairs. The cards can also be used for center activity
games such as Concentration.
4
5
6
9
7
10
8
SOLAR
Acro
SYSTEM
ss
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group OUTSIDE
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in the
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night
celestial
3. an
ted
7. a scien
in the
sky
instrument
object;
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tist who and write it
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used to
word studi
4. the
each
make dista
ts,
__________
death
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stars
amble
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below
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, unscr and other
_____
in a sharp explosion of
ered space
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Nam e
objects ies,
a mass
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incre
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To answe
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tness follow
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© Learning
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rights reserved.
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OUTSIDE
THE SOLA
R
________
________
Directions:
________
Matc h
corre ct
________
defin ition each term
________
on the
on the
left with
_______
space
its defin
in front
Date
ition on
of the
the right.
term.
1.
Write
______
astronom
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in scien
big lugs
bang theor
wear earp
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stude nts
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___ ___
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black hole 10 11
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Credits:
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Riddl e:
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and
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tellar dust
6
of inters dark patch
or
or cloud
a region ring as a bright
gas appea
4
13
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3
of plane
of
collection or billions
a large
millions er by gravity
dust, and
togeth
stars, bound
Aliaksandr
3
2
stock;
right:
4. ______
tock/Think
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rights
A–Z All
reserved.
5. ______
cluster
cosmologi
st
6. ______
7. ______
8. ______
9. ______
deep space
galaxy
light-year
solar syste
m
10. ______
© Learning
telescope
A–Z All
rights
reserved.
ble
8
2
7
2
3
Unscram
SYSTEM
Matching
________
________
the letter
The Word Work activity sheets offer fun puzzles and practice with key
vocabulary terms from the unit. For further vocabulary practice and
reinforcement, you can choose from the vocabulary Graphic Organizers.
To build customized vocabulary lessons with terms related to the topic,
see
.
of the
A. a regio
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field so of space with
intense
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that noth gravitational
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B. a close
escape
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D. a theor
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and other es planets,
stars
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in space ,
H. a unit
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Students can use the Word Smart vocabulary Graphic Organizer to organize
information on the science terms. You may want to assign each student
one to three words to share his or her Word Smart knowledge with classmates.
Students who have the same word should first compare their Word Smart
sheets with each other and then report to the larger group.
The science terms can be used in oral practice. Have students use each
term in a spoken sentence.
As students read, encourage them to create a science dictionary by recording
new vocabulary terms and definitions in their SAZ Journal.
© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
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Outside the Solar System
UNIT GUIDE
BACKGROUND and Use this section as a resource for more background knowledge on unit
MISCONCEPTIONS content and to clarify the content for students if misconceptions arise.
Refer to Using the Internet below for more ways to extend the learning.
Q: Are stars really white, as they appear to be in the night sky?
OUTSIDE THE SOLAR SYSTEM
A Science A–Z Earth Series
Word Count: 2,064
Outside the
Solar System
Written by Patricia Walsh and Ron Fridell
Visit www.sciencea-z.com
www.sciencea-z.com
A: Actually, they are not. White light is a combination of all the other colors
in the visible light spectrum. When looking through a telescope, it’s evident
that stars come in many colors. However, the unaided human eye tends to
combine these colors into white light.
Q: Should I be worried about the Sun dying? Will I need a warmer coat?
A: As scientists have observed in other stars, the Sun goes through life cycle
stages. Eventually it will die. But before we ever have to worry about its
warmth fading out, we might have to be concerned with the Sun growing
enormously and consuming Earth in its fiery gases. It may become a red giant
long before it cools and becomes a nebula and finally a dwarf. However, and
fortunately for us, these changes happen over millions or billions of years.
The Sun should be roughly the same as it is now for the next billion years
or so. Thus, in our lifetimes, there are not expected to be any changes to the
Sun that would affect life on Earth.
Q: Do stars twinkle because they give off light unevenly?
A: While some stars, such as pulsars, give off light unevenly, most stars we
see in the night sky give off fairly steady visible light. They appear to twinkle
because their light passes through moving gases in our atmosphere. The
refraction of the light as it passes through the moving medium makes the
light waves bend in many directions, which causes the twinkling effect.
The movement in the atmosphere can also make the light from stars change
colors by the time it reaches Earth’s surface.
Q: Why don’t planets twinkle?
A: Actually, planets do twinkle. We generally don’t see the twinkling because
planets are so much closer to Earth than stars are. Any twinkle effect is
overwhelmed by the sheer amount of light coming to our eyes. Stars send
comparatively more light but over vastly greater distances. Thus, the smaller
amount of light that reaches Earth from a star is more affected by
atmospheric movement.
© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
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Outside the Solar System
UNIT GUIDE
Q: Would constellations look the same from other angles?
A: No. Constellations are human-made inventions based on how stars
appear in the sky from Earth. But in reality, the stars that make up a given
constellation are very far from one another in space. From any vantage point
except on or near Earth, the same group of stars would look completely
different. (You can demonstrate this by placing objects in a group that
produces a visual pattern, then having students observe the group from
different vantage points.)
Q: A year is a measurement of time, so doesn’t a light-year also measure time?
A: No. A light-year actually measures distance, despite having the word
year in its name. One light-year is the distance that light can travel in one
year. This is such a great distance that people sometimes use the term to
refer to any great distance or large amount. For example, “Our dog is lightyears ahead of where we expected she would be in her training by now.”
Q: If no humans have ever gone into deep space, how can we be sure what
exists there?
A: Some deep-space features can actually be seen and verified through
modern telescopes. Other features can be proven to exist and can be
described based on measurements of the electromagnetic energy they
give off and by collecting other data. However, humans are quite far from
understanding everything there is to know about the universe. Many
theories exist about how the universe began, what the future holds for
the universe, how space and time are related, types of matter, mysterious
phenomena in space, and much more. As with other fields of study in
science, the quest for understanding drives humanity’s efforts to test
theories and to build a greater understanding of the universe.
© Jupiterimages Corporation
EXTENSION
ACTIVITIES
Using the Internet
Most search engines will yield many results when a term such as universe
or deep space is entered. You can also search for more on a specific deepspace feature, such as nebulas, supernovas, or galaxies. Be aware that some
sites may not be educational or intended for the elementary classroom.
More specific inquiries are recommended, such as:
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© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
star life cycles
Horseshoe Nebula
timeline of space exploration
convert light-years to miles/kilometers
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astronomy pictures
closest stars to Earth
famous astronauts
cosmology for kids
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Outside the Solar System
UNIT GUIDE
Below are some links with excellent resources for students and/or teachers.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provides a
multitude of resources on space and space exploration. Follow links to
the Web page for educators or for students to find current news articles,
information on space-related careers, multimedia options, and announcements
about special events and contests. Use the Education Materials Finder to
search for teaching resources by grade span and subject matter. www.nasa.gov
NASA Kids’ Club and NASA Space Place are two sites that offer games
and resources that younger students may enjoy exploring. Kids’ Club
has a picture dictionary, updates on current and future NASA missions,
and information for teachers. Space Place includes many fun games, projects,
and amazing facts. www.nasa.gov/audience/forkids/kidsclub/flash/index.html
http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/en/kids
The European Space Agency’s website is a valuable resource for articles
and research on a myriad of astronomical topics, including the International
Space Station. The educational section offers kits and online lessons, some
provided in multiple languages. www.esa.int/esaCP/index.html
The Center for Science Education, at the University of California at Berkeley’s
Space Sciences Laboratory, offers classroom resources and educational
programs related to space science on its website. It also links to NASA’s
Space Science Education Resource Directory, which can be searched
for educational materials. http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/educators.html
Projects and Activities
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© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
Arts: Cover a wall or door with black butcher paper and allow students
to create a deep-space mural complete with colorful features they
learned about in the unit.
Project: Invite students to create board games or sports related to the
exploration of deep space.
Project: Encourage students to monitor newspapers and selected
websites for current news related to space exploration. Then have
groups of students each create a newscast of real and/or invented
space news, including weather, sports, and human-interest stories.
Project/Home Connection/Guest: Hold a star party on the school
playground in which students and their families can look through
telescopes on a clear night. Invite amateur astronomers to bring their
equipment and share their astronomical expertise with students.
ield Trip: Bring students to a planetarium or science center to learn
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about the tools of space exploration and to view displays on deep-space
features.
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Outside the Solar System
UNIT GUIDE
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© Learning A–Z All rights reserved.
riting: Have students write a science fiction narrative about a journey
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through space in which they demonstrate an understanding of the
structure and systems of the universe. See
for extensive
writing instruction.
Math: Challenge students to invent a unit of measurement similar in
scale to a light-year but that measures a large amount of something
other than distance.
Research/ELL: Compile a list of names of galaxies, stars, planets, and
other space features with foreign word origins, such as Latin. Challenge
students to identify similarities between these names and English words
or names.
Research/Technology: Assign specific deep-space features to individuals
or groups to research in the library/media center or online. Have students
create a class presentation on what they learned, complete with interesting
details and appealing visuals.
Research/Home Connection: Students can conduct
research as a family/home project or in the library/
media center to extend the learning about a topic
in one of the Quick Reads or other unit resources.
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