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Changes in The Solar System

Scientists for many hundreds of years have looked at the stars to try to find our place in the solar system and to understand the movement of the stars, but how has our ideas about the solar system changed over the years? Students will explore this in this worksheet.

'Changes in The Solar System' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Physics: Space Physics

Curriculum subtopic:  Our Sun as a Star, Other Stars and Galaxies

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Our knowledge of the Solar System has been developed over thousands of years. Below is an outline of the civilisations and scientists that have been involved in the development of our knowledge of the modern day Solar System:

 

Timeline 4000 BC

Ancient civilisations studied the movement of the Sun, Moon and the stars and used them to measure time The Egyptians developed the 365-day calendar as a result of monitoring the stars.

 

Timeline 400 BC

Aristotle - a very famous Greek philosopher - realised the Earth was a sphere, but he believed that the Earth was at the center of the Universe and all the planets and stars orbited around the Earth. This is known as the geocentric model.

 

A statue of the Greek philosopher Aristotle


Timeline 1543

A Polish scientist called Copernicus, realised that it was the Sun at the center if the Solar System and not the Earth which is known as a heliocentric model. His theories were controversial at the time and church leaders wouldn't accept them.

 

Nicolaus Copernicus heliocentric model of the solar system

Timeline 1609

In 1609, telescopes became available and ideas began to change. Kepler, a German astronomer, adapted Copernicus's model by changing the circular orbits of the planets to elliptical (oval) orbits. 

 

The Solar System showing the elliptical orbits of the planets around the Sun. 

 

This model led to a greater understanding of the speed at which planets orbit. In 2009, NASA launched a space ship named after Kepler which discovered dozens of Earth-sized planets until it stopped functioning in August 2013.  

There have been other famous astronomers, including Hubble, who have helped us understand the Solar System. Scientists to the present day are still improving and adapting the model, as more information about the Solar System is being gathered.

What civilisation is credited with the development of the 365-day a year calendar?

Greeks

Romans

Egyptians

British

What is the name of the Greek philosopher who realised that the Earth was a sphere?

Hubble

Keplar

Copernicus

Aristotle

Listed below are some of the people who had the greatest impact on our modern day knowledge of the Solar System, but which of them was born in Poland?

Hubble

Keplar

Copernicus

Aristotle

Match each of the names with their contributions to our knowledge of the Solar System.

Column A

Column B

Copernicus
heliocentric model
Aristotle
geocentric model
Kepler
elliptical orbits

List the planets in order, starting with the planet closest to the sun. 

Column A

Column B

1st (closest to Sun)
Saturn
2nd
Jupiter
3rd
Neptune
4th
Mars
5th
Uranus
6th
Venus
7th
Mercury
8th (furthest from Sun)
Earth

What was the name of the scientist who was the first to realise that the Sun was at the center of the Solar System?

Hubble

Copernicus

Kepler

Aristotle

What is the name of the astronomer who had a space craft named after him, which discovered many planets but stopped working in 2013?

Hubble

Aristotle

Kepler

Copernicus

In what why was the Keplar model of the solar system different from the model proposed by Copernicus?

elliptical orbits

larger orbits

square orbits

faster orbits

  • Question 1

What civilisation is credited with the development of the 365-day a year calendar?

CORRECT ANSWER
Egyptians
EDDIE SAYS
The Egyptians developed the 365-day a year calendar over 6000 years ago.
  • Question 2

What is the name of the Greek philosopher who realised that the Earth was a sphere?

CORRECT ANSWER
Aristotle
EDDIE SAYS
Aristotle was the first to realise that the Earth was a sphere. Before that, it was thought that the Earth was flat.
  • Question 3

Listed below are some of the people who had the greatest impact on our modern day knowledge of the Solar System, but which of them was born in Poland?

CORRECT ANSWER
Copernicus
EDDIE SAYS
Copernicus was born in Poland in 1473.
Hubble was born in America in 1889, Kepler was born in Germany in 1571 and Aristotle was born in Greece in 384 BC!
  • Question 4

Match each of the names with their contributions to our knowledge of the Solar System.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Copernicus
heliocentric model
Aristotle
geocentric model
Kepler
elliptical orbits
EDDIE SAYS
Copernicus and Aristotle theories, although they were perfect, still allowed others (such as Kepler) to develop them and build our modern day Solar System.
  • Question 5

List the planets in order, starting with the planet closest to the sun. 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1st (closest to Sun)
Mercury
2nd
Venus
3rd
Earth
4th
Mars
5th
Jupiter
6th
Saturn
7th
Uranus
8th (furthest from Sun)
Neptune
EDDIE SAYS
There are many rhymes, songs and pneumonics that you can use to learn the order of the planets. For example:
My Very Earnest Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets (the P at the end stands for Pluto, which is no longer listed as a planet, but was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006).
  • Question 6

What was the name of the scientist who was the first to realise that the Sun was at the center of the Solar System?

CORRECT ANSWER
Copernicus
EDDIE SAYS
This view was controversial at the time and lots of religions refused to accept Copernicus's view of the Solar System.
  • Question 7

What is the name of the astronomer who had a space craft named after him, which discovered many planets but stopped working in 2013?

CORRECT ANSWER
Kepler
EDDIE SAYS
The Kepler spacecraft was successful but stopped functioning correctly in August 2013.
  • Question 8

In what why was the Keplar model of the solar system different from the model proposed by Copernicus?

CORRECT ANSWER
elliptical orbits
EDDIE SAYS
Keplar realised that the orbits of the planets were elliptical and not circular, which allowed scientists to calculate accurately the speed at which the planets orbit around the Sun.
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