Lesson 6: Moons, Comets, Asteroids, and Rings




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Lesson 6: Moons, etc.

Lesson 6: Moons, Comets, Asteroids, and Rings




Introduction


Planets orbit the Sun. Many planets have moons. These moons orbit their planets, and move with their planets around the Sun. Some planets also have rings. Asteroids are rocky bodies smaller than the planets and smaller than most moons. Asteroids also orbit the Sun. Comets are small icy bodies that also orbit the Sun. Moons, comets, and asteroids are often called small bodies.

Science vocabulary


moon • ring • comet • asteroid • satellite



  1. Pose a question

How are moons, comets, and asteroids similar to planets, and how are they different?
2. Make a plan to answer the question


a. Decide what we need to do to find out the answer to the question

We want to find out how moons, comets, and asteroids are like planets and how they are different.



b. Decide what materials to use

We will use small bodies cards to organize our information.

We will put pictures on the correct cards.

We will use the moons, comets, and asteroids information page.



c. Decide how to collect the information

First we will use the small bodies cards to find out how moons, comets, asteroids, and planets are alike and different.

We will then read the moons, comets, and asteroids information page.

Then we will paste pictures on the correct small bodies cards.



d. Decide how to record and analyze the information

We will record the information on the data sheet.



e. Decide how to report and share the findings

We will report the information using the data on our cards.




3. Carry out the plan

  1. Materials

  1. Small bodies cards

  2. Moon, comet, and asteroid pictures

  3. Moons, comets, and asteroids information page

  4. Paste or glue


b. Procedures

  1. Read about the moons, comet, and asteroids on the small bodies cards and the information page.

  2. Match the pictures to the correct small bodies card. Paste or glue the picture to the card.

  3. Cut the cards apart on the dotted line.

4. Record and analyze the information:

Chart A: Use the information on the small bodies cards to complete the following chart.




Object Name

Group

Shape

What Type

of Object?

Rocky, Icy, or Both?

Europa



Satellite


Sphere

Both

Tethys








243 Ida








951 Gaspra








Comet Hale-Bopp








Comet Halley








Moon








Phobos







Chart B: Use the information on the information page to complete the following chart.




Planet
Number of Satellites

Does the Planet have Rings?

Mercury



0

No

Venus





Earth





Mars





Jupiter





Saturn




Uranus






Neptune





Pluto







5. Report and share the findings

  1. In your group, compare Chart A above with your planet cards. Discuss how moons and asteroids are like planets. Summarize your ideas.



  1. In your group, discuss how moons, asteroids, and comets are different from planets. List two ways in which they are different from planets.




  1. Review the information page. List one way in which comets are different from planets.




  1. Use Chart B and the planet cards to help your group answer questions d and e. Make a list of the planets that have more than five moons. What do these planets have in common?

e. Make a list of the planets that have rings. What do they have in common?



STUDENT INFORMATION PAGE




Moons are small, rocky bodies that orbit planets. Moons are sometimes called satellites. Mercury and Venus are the only planets that do not have moons.

Earth has one satellite called the Moon. Pluto also has one satellite called Charon. Most moons are spherical just like their planets. Mars has two small moons that are not spheres. These moons are very irregular in shape and look like asteroids. You will learn more about asteroids in the next lesson.


The outer planets have many moons. Most of these moons are spheres. They are made of ice and rock. At present Jupiter has 16 known moons, Saturn has 18 known moons, Uranus has 20 known moons, and Neptune has 8 known moons. Scientists are still discovering tiny unknown moons around these giant planets.
The outer planets also have rings. Saturn has the most spectacular rings. Rings are made of billions of small chunks of ice and rock. Each of these pieces is like a very tiny moon that orbits its planet.
Comets are very small bodies made of ice and dust that also orbit the Sun. Most comets have orbits that are far beyond the orbit of Pluto. Some have orbits that bring them close to the Sun. When they get close to the Sun, their ices warm up and turn to gas. Gas and dust form the comet’s tail.

Name:

Moon







Group:

Satellite, Earth








Type:

Rocky








Shape:

Sphere





Name:

Phobos







Group:

Satellite, Mars








Type:

Rocky








Shape:

Irregular





Name:

Europa







Group:

Satellite, Jupiter








Type:

Icy, Rocky








Shape:

Sphere




Name:

Tethys







Group:

Satellite, Saturn








Type:

Icy








Shape:

Sphere





Name:

243 Ida







Group:

Asteroid








Type:

Rocky








Shape:

Irregular





Name:

951 Gaspra







Group:

Asteroid








Type:

Rocky








Shape:

Irregular




Name:

Comet Halley







Group:

Comet








Type:

Icy








Shape:

Irregular with Tail





Name:

Comet Hale-Bopp







Group:

Comet








Type:

Icy








Shape:

Irregular(?) with Tail






Moon



Phobos



Europa



Tethys



243 Ida



951 Gaspra





Comet Halley





Comet Hale-Bopp








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