6 December Science 8 Composing eBook / Video about Solar System and Model

  • Today and Friday are workdays.
  • If you need more time outside, consult with Dr. F.
  • Let Dr. F know whether you are making a video or eBook and clarify that you understand the due date.

APPROACHES to your composition:

  • Consider your audience–who do you want to read your book or see your video?
  • Creative, Interesting, Artistic, Compelling, Awe-filled, Visual–photos, video clips, drawings, paintings, sketches, diagrams, etc.
  • Please go beyond a dull encyclopedic regurgitation of facts
  • A few possible ideas: A personal journey, A travel story, “The incredible shrinking universe,” A story of how we know

CHECKLIST of information to include–woven through the composition

  • Sizes and distances–real and scaled.
  • How many times has the model shrunk from the real solar system? What is the scale factor?
  • Direction and time of orbits for each object (except the sun). Remember you must establish a frame of reference (there is no absolute up or down in space–we must always say, “with respect to” when describing directions or orientations). Do any orbits cross? What did Kepler figure out about orbits–what is the relationship of distance from the sun and time for one revolution?
  • Spin and orientation of spin (what is the rotation of the objects like–direction and time)
  • How do we (humans–astronomers) know about the direction and spin of the objects? Can you explain the evidence and the argument?
  • Composition of objects? Again, how do we know? (Since light is the main source of information–what is it that light can reveal about composition? Hint: What is the story of the origin of the name of element 2–Helium?)
  • Structure of each object and processes: Does Venus have an atmosphere? Does Mars have Mars–quakes? Are there volcanoes on any of the planets? Hurricanes or cyclones? Again, how do we know?
  • Other “fun facts”
  • What is the place of the solar system in our galaxy and the galaxy in our cluster of galaxies and the cluster in the universe?

REFLECTIONS to weave into your composition:

  • Wonder and amazement at the vastness of the solar system!
  • Perspective on the importance of humans with respect to our place–on the one had our lives are unimaginably short considering time in the universe, our planet is minor in an unremarkable solar system–on the other–Astronomer Carl Sagan (https://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/whos_who_level2/sagan.html ) said something like “We are the way the universe knows itself”–riddle–how does consciousness arise from the matter that is us–matter that was created in the processes of stars. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yLGeviU8FM
  • The double-edge sword of using models. Models can clarify but they can also confuse. What is your experience with models of the solar system and other systems in the universe? Consider the stories from the video A Private Universe: https://www.learner.org/vod/vod_window.html?pid=9
  • The prospect of travel in the solar system and beyond
  • The prospect of life beyond the earth (SETI– https://www.seti.org/ )
  • The earth is the only home we’ve got–what has happened and is happening due to human activity?
  • What would you tell an extra terrestrial intelligence about our earth? (https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/golden-record/)
  • How does our study of matter relate to what happens in the solar system, on other planets, in stars, in the universe?
  • Other ideas that have come to you–watching the moon and stars, building the model, conducting the research



About rfrazier

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