with Leigh Ann Yoder
We have been lied to! That is how Ranger Bob opened this week's class. Every photo, computer and TV image, poster, text book, drawing, etc., has misrepresented our solar system both in size and distance. He showed how it is impossible to accurately represent the correct proportions of planets in one image. For example, if we were to try to represent just the size of the planets on a computer screen, Pluto would be smaller than one pixel!
Within our classroom, or even on the school grounds, it would be impossible to produce an accurate solar system model. However, we are able to represent either size or distance separately.
This past week the students worked on representing the relative sizes of the planets, including Pluto, using Play-Doh. Each team began with a three pound, huge ball of clay. Each and every crumb was important to the activity, and students had to be mindful not to drop or loose a single one! In order to complete the activity each group had to work together to cut, assess accuracy, and evenly distribute and group the clay. The proportions had to be accurate and required repeated, meticulous measuring and cutting. By the last step, the students were cutting 10 equal pieces from a strand of clay no wider than a hair! You will notice in the final photos Pluto is barely visible.
Here is the orbital scale proportionate to a 4.8" Jupiter (my best estimate for today's model) and a 47" Sun.
Saturn's orbit at 4015 ft is under a mile and Pluto's at 16,638 ft. is 3.15 miles!
Attack of the Letter "P"!
Ranger Bob ended the lesson with a picture-rich presentation called: "Plutoids, Dwarf Planets, and other Trans-Neptunian Objects, Oh, My!" He reviewed the history of dwarf planet discovery, the exclusion of Pluto from the panoply of planets and the plethora of objects beyond the planets and their moons that populate our solar system.
If there is time next week after our Game Show, we will continue our exploration of proportion. This time we will focus on distance.
ECA Chapter 9
STUDY - Game Show Day is this coming Monday!
***Please bring Library Books*****
JK Chapter 4
NB pg 99,100,101,106,109