Exploring the Universe

Lesson Plan Exploring the Solar System


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The Mars Polar Lander launched in January and landed on the red planet

on December 3, 1999. The goal is to study the planet's geology, climate,

and water to find out how Mars evolved, to learn about relationships to

Earth's climate changes, and to look at resources for future human

exploration-- ultimately to study the potential for life elsewhere in the



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Lesson Plan

Pioneers, Vanguards, Explorers, Mariners, Rangers, Vikings, Surveyors and Voyagers have been the workhorses of the effort of the United States to explore the solar system.


How do reaction engines, such as a rocket, shoot forward with escape velocity?



Explore Space exploration on Internet and discover who Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky and Dr. Robert H. Goddard are and what they have contributed to space exploration. Written report.




Newton's Third Law of Motion

  1. Cut cardboard rectangle 15 cm by 6 cm.
  2. Cut four circles equal in diameter from leftover cardboard for wheels.
  3. Push a pin through the center of each circle and then push it into the edge of the cardboard rectangle. (the pins are axles)
  4. Insert the straw into the balloon opening. Wrap tape around the area to keep straw and balloon airtight.
  5. Tape the balloon and straw to the car so that the balloon bends upward.
  6. Inflate the balloon and release.
  7. Have races and determine the best rocket car. What makes it the best? What adjustments could improve the distance traveled?


Assign each set of lab partners a planet. Research planet on the Internet and teach class about their planet. Visuals, movie clips, pictures and overheads are allowed. Students will then help to design the testing tool for this unit.

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