Heliocentric Model of the Solar System
Earth and Space

Tours of the solar system

Classroom Activity for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

To give a visual tour of the solar system and to make the point that a lot of science can be done by making deductions from photographs.

What to Prepare

  • The interactive object (see below) for:
    • The Earth and the Moon
    • Other things found in the universe
    • Solar System tour
    • Visiting the Moon
  • A matching sheet of notes for you, giving some questions to pose for each slide (see below)
  • The means to project it in front of the class, in a darkened room (one of the slides shows a Moon landing and has a soundtrack, so you will also need speakers connected to your computer)

What Happens During this Activity

This is essentially a lecture demonstration where you take the pupils on a tour. Try to pose a question or puzzle about each slide. Suggestions or points to make are offered in the notes under each slide.

So for instance:

  • What does the fact that the pictures of men on the Moon show them wearing large sealed suits tell us about the Moon? (No atmosphere).
  • Why are the legs of the Lunar Lander covered in gold foil? (To reflect the Sun's radiation as there is no atmosphere to absorb it.)
  • Why is the Lunar Lander so much smaller than the rocket that took off from Earth and why does it take off much faster? (Because the gravity on the Moon is only one-sixth of that on the Earth.)

Try not to answer your own questions. You are after intelligent suggestions, and seeking to stimulate curiosity.

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