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Investigating the Solar System

In this worksheet, students will answer questions about how scientists investigate their ideas by collecting evidence and making models.

'Investigating the Solar System' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Earth and Space

Curriculum subtopic:  Movement of Earth and the Planets

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Some science questions can be answered because we can carry out an investigation and present our results. An example of a question we can investigate is:

 

 "Which coloured berries do garden birds prefer?"

 

Blue tit

 

We can provide different coloured berries and record the number of birds which feed on each berry, or count how many berries of each colour the birds eat.

 

 

Because some ideas in science are about very, very tiny particles, or about very, very large objects, we have to gather evidence and make models to show WHAT WE THINK is happening.

 

We cannot travel to all parts of our solar system, but we know a lot about it because of the EVIDENCE we collect.  Let's have a look at some of that evidence.

Holly and Mohammed are investigating the solar system.

 

What is the SOLAR SYSTEM

the Earth and moon

the sun, Earth and moon

the sun and the eight planets orbiting it

The students know that the solar system is difficult to investigate in the classroom, so they decide to collect different objects to represent the sun, Earth and moon.

 

Can you help them decide which objects they should collect?

flat, round objects (CDs, plates)

cylindrical tubes and tins

balls (spherical objects)

Mohammed says: "When we use different sized balls to represent our solar system, we are _____________."

observing

modelling

classifying

Which TWO variables must Holly and Mo change when they make their model? 

the gravity

the time

the size of the balls

the colour of the balls

the distance between the balls

Which list of spherical objects is the BEST to represent the sun, the Earth and the moon?

beachball, pea, small bead

beachball, football, tennis ball

football, ping pong ball, marble

Holly and Mo think about the distance between the Earth and the moon.

 

Earth has a diameter of 12 700km.

The distance from the Earth to the moon is 384 000km.

 

Approximately, how many 'Earths' can fit between the Earth and the moon?

3

30

300

About how many 'Earths' can fit between the Earth and the sun? 

 

Earth has a diameter of 12 700km.

The distance from the Earth to the sun is 149 600 000km.

just under 110

1100

more than 11 000

Carlie and Mo used a beach ball, pea and small bead to model their solar system.

 

The diameter of the pea is 0.5 cm. Carlie and Mo cannot decide the distance they must measure between their 'sun' and 'Earth'.

 

 

Which one of these calculations is correct?

0.5 cm x 100 = 50 cm

0.5 cm x 11 700 = 58 m

0.5 cm x 100 000 = 0.5 km

To measure this distance out on the school field, the best equipment to use is a...

30cm ruler

metre ruler

100m tape

trundle wheel

Mo and Holly are very pleased with their model. They share it with the class.

 

Which THREE variables does their model NOT SHOW? 

orbit

spin

distance

relative size

temperature

  • Question 1

Holly and Mohammed are investigating the solar system.

 

What is the SOLAR SYSTEM

CORRECT ANSWER
the sun and the eight planets orbiting it
EDDIE SAYS
The SOLAR SYSTEM is made up of the planets travelling around the sun and also other objects in space which orbit the sun and the planets, for example moons and asteroids.
  • Question 2

The students know that the solar system is difficult to investigate in the classroom, so they decide to collect different objects to represent the sun, Earth and moon.

 

Can you help them decide which objects they should collect?

CORRECT ANSWER
balls (spherical objects)
EDDIE SAYS
The sun, the planets and the moon are spherical - ball shaped, even though they appear as 'flat', round shapes in the sky.
  • Question 3

Mohammed says: "When we use different sized balls to represent our solar system, we are _____________."

CORRECT ANSWER
modelling
EDDIE SAYS
As scientists, we use MODELS to help us understand what is happening when the real thing is too tiny, too dangerous or too big to bring into the classroom!
  • Question 4

Which TWO variables must Holly and Mo change when they make their model? 

CORRECT ANSWER
the size of the balls
the distance between the balls
EDDIE SAYS
The key factors in their model are the relative size of the planets and the distance between them. They are going to have to do some calculations to get some sort of scale which will look reasonable.
  • Question 5

Which list of spherical objects is the BEST to represent the sun, the Earth and the moon?

CORRECT ANSWER
beachball, pea, small bead
EDDIE SAYS
The sun is so much larger than the Earth, that if Holly and Mo use a beachball to represent the sun, the earth would be about the size of a pea and the moon the size of a small bead. Try it yourself!
  • Question 6

Holly and Mo think about the distance between the Earth and the moon.

 

Earth has a diameter of 12 700km.

The distance from the Earth to the moon is 384 000km.

 

Approximately, how many 'Earths' can fit between the Earth and the moon?

CORRECT ANSWER
30
EDDIE SAYS
Earth's diameter is 12 700 km. The moon is 384 000 km away from Earth.
To find how many Earths can fit between Earth and the moon, we divide the distance with Earth's diameter.
384 000 ÷ 12 700 = 30.2
  • Question 7

About how many 'Earths' can fit between the Earth and the sun? 

 

Earth has a diameter of 12 700km.

The distance from the Earth to the sun is 149 600 000km.

CORRECT ANSWER
more than 11 000
EDDIE SAYS
The sun is a LONG way away!
Earth is 149 600 000 km away from the sun.
To find how many Earths can fit between Earth and the sun, we divide the distance with Earth's diameter.
149 600 000 ÷ 12 700 = 11 780
  • Question 8

Carlie and Mo used a beach ball, pea and small bead to model their solar system.

 

The diameter of the pea is 0.5 cm. Carlie and Mo cannot decide the distance they must measure between their 'sun' and 'Earth'.

 

 

Which one of these calculations is correct?

CORRECT ANSWER
0.5 cm x 11 700 = 58 m
EDDIE SAYS
Carlie and Mo need to measure a distance of 58 metres (that's a BIG, BIG distance!) between their Earth and the sun.
They should multiply the diameter of the pea with how many pea-sized 'Earths' that can fit between the Earth and the Sun.
  • Question 9

To measure this distance out on the school field, the best equipment to use is a...

CORRECT ANSWER
100m tape
EDDIE SAYS
I tried a trundle wheel, but kept losing count! Team work and a 100m tape work best.
  • Question 10

Mo and Holly are very pleased with their model. They share it with the class.

 

Which THREE variables does their model NOT SHOW? 

CORRECT ANSWER
orbit
spin
temperature
EDDIE SAYS
It's a good model showing the relative sizes of the sun, Earth and moon, and the distances between them but does not show the orbits, rotation or temperatures of these bodies in our solar system.
---- OR ----

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