This unit study contains a list of resources and activities for you to use in your studies. Choose those that will best suit your students, time, and learning environment. My hope is that you will enjoy the process of learning and not feel constricted by the timeline or activities. I do recommend that you read at least one book aloud together from each unit as it is something you can experience and enjoy together. Make changes as they suit your needs and enjoy your time learning together!
Solar System Unit for Grades 5-12
The Martian: Classroom Edition: A Novel by Andy Weir
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Exploring the Solar System: A History with 22 Activities
By Mary Kay Carson Available on SCRIBD
In this stellar activity book, kids delve into the rich history of space exploration, where telescopes, satellites, probes, landers, and human missions lead to amazing discoveries. Updated to include the recent discovery of Eris which, along with Pluto, has been newly classified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union, this cosmic adventure challenges kids to explore the planets and other celestial bodies for themselves through activities such as building a model of a comet using soil, molasses, dry ice, and window cleaner; or creating their own reentry vehicle to safely return an egg to Earth's surface. With biographies of more than 20 space pioneers, specific mission details, a 20-page field guide to the solar system, and plenty of suggestions for further research, this is the ultimate guidebook to exploring the solar system.
In the 2400s, mankind begins to terraform the planet Mars. Giant corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise the temperature, the oxygen level, and the ocean coverage until the environment is habitable.
As terraforming progresses, more and more people will immigrate from Earth to live on the Red Planet. Experience 'Science Future' as you compete to be the most successful corporation on Mars!
Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition
Learn more about using games for learning here.
Which planets could people live on? Why or why not? Write about this topic.
Create an illustrated fact sheet for each planet. You could make one for each topic you find interesting besides planets as you study space.
Watch Videos from Astrum on YouTube about the planets in our solar system.
Paint or draw each of the planets in our solar system. When dry, cut the planets out.
Research the planets to find out their size and distance from the sun and label the backs of your planets.
Sequence the planets you created by size, then by distance to the sun, and finally in alphabetical order.
Discuss what is needed to allow people to live on a planet.
Discuss what it would take to terraform a planet for people to live on it.
Play the Terraforming Mars board game (or other chosen game)
Discuss the game. What aspects were realistic and what parts could only be science fiction?
Learn about the solar system at the NASA website. The site includes virtual planets to explore.
Draw a diagram of a space shuttle and label its parts.
Make a model space shuttle. This could be made of Legos, clay, recycled materials, with Minecraft, or any other way, be creative.
Study the phases of the moon and make a diagram of the phases.
Watch the Apollo 13 movie and discuss the dangers involved with space exploration.
Do the questions and activities from the books.
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