This lesson is specifically designed to make NGSS MS-ESS3-1 ENGAGING and RELATABLE to familiar objects. (NGSS MS-ESS3-1: Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.)
Includes both print and Google Slides options to assign!
In this activity, students will:
- READ Top 10 Interesting Scaled Sizes in the Universe. They’ll read what “to scale” means and learn more about ten interesting and relatable scales of celestial bodies. Celestial bodies included (and compared to each other) are the Sun, Earth, Moon, planets, asteroids, the solar system, the Milky Way, the largest star, and the universe.
- DEFINE vocabulary terms embedded in the text, such as proportions, AU, light year, diameter, and more.
- ANSWER text-dependent questions. No prior knowledge is required, but a basic understanding of what planets and stars are is considered understood. I am confident that any middle schooler would understand this lesson without any further explanation.
Examples of the Scales Students Will Imagine:
- If the Earth were the size of an apple, Mercury would be the size of a grape.
- If Neptune had the diameter of a basketball, it would be located 27 basketball courts away from the Sun.
- Plus 8 more relatable and easy-to-imagine scaled comparisons.
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION: This resource uses MILES, not kilometers. Of course, the metric system is the better scale to use in science class. But in this case, where the objective is for the kids to be able to truly imagine the size scales, I decided to use a measurement from their everyday lives.
- This resource is NOT editable.
- Answer key included.
- Related NGSS Standard: MS-ESS1-3
- NGSS Science & Engineering Practice: Developing and using models
- NGSS Science & Engineering Practice: Using mathematics and computational thinking