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Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Science Education Standards: Earth and Space Science -- Content Standard D
Earth in the Solar System
- The Earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the Moon, the sun, seven other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets.
Energy in the Solar System
- Earth systems have internal and external sources of energy, both of which create heat. The sun is the major external source of energy. Two primary sources of internal energy are the decay of radioactive isotopes and the gravitational energy from the Earth's original formation.
- The outward transfer of Earth's internal heat drives convection circulation in the mantle that propels the plates comprising Earth's surface across the face of the globe.
The Origin and Evolution of the Earth System
- Interactions among the solid Earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and organisms have resulted in the ongoing evolution of the Earth system. We can observe some changes such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on a human-time scale, but many processes such as mountain building and plate movements take place over hundreds of millions of years.
Short Description: Students work in groups or as a class to determine the order of events that formed our solar system. This is an excellent activity to begin discussion of events that shaped the solar system and how Earth's geosphere and biosphere have changed -- in an interrelated manner -- through time. (Click here for links not accessible on the PDF version of this activity.)
Source: Lunar and Planetary Institute