Learning plan

How did our solar system form?

In how did our solar system form? you will learn all about chemical elements, the process of accretion and will explore key features of our solar system.

To get started, read carefully through the How did our solar system form learning goals below. Make sure you tick each of the check boxes to show that you have read all your How did our solar system form? learning goals.

As you read through the learning goals you may come across some words that you haven’t heard before. Please don’t worry. By the time you finish How did our solar system form? you will have become very familiar with them!

You will come back to these learning goals at the end of How did our solar system form? to see if you have confidently achieved them.

Junior 2.2 Pre



2Al

Activity 2.2.1 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Identify different chemical elements
  • Understand the importance of chemical elements
  • Understand the role of accretion in the formation of our solar system

Introduction

Last activity you learned all about the life cycle of stars and how, when they die or go supernova, they produce the buildings blocks of the Universe - chemical elements. In this lesson you’re going to learn more about those amazing chemical elements and how they were brought together with other matter by the process of accretion to create our very own solar system.


Mission video 10: Matter and the process of accretion

While you watch Mission video 10: Matter and the process of accretion look out for the answers to the following questions:

  1. 1. What is a chemical element?
  2. 2. Why are chemical elements considered the building blocks of the Universe?
  3. 3. What is a chemical compound?
  4. 4. What is the process of accretion?
  5. 5. Which features of the solar system were created by accretion?

Your teacher will instruct you whether you will answer the questions: as part of a class discussion; as a group/paired discussion; or independently by writing your answers in your Big History School Junior journal (if you have been provided with one).


Download video


Activity 2.2.1 Review

Conclusion

So where do 'chemical elements' appear on our History of the Universe Timeline?

Either your teacher will help you identify where they appear on the classroom display or you will refer back to the Timeline: history of the Universe worksheet you completed when you did the “3 big mission phase questions” activity. You will find a copy of Timeline: history of the Universe example in Helpful Resources.

Now that you’ve learned a little about chemical elements and how everything in the Universe is made of them - including Earth and us - you will play a simple game in the next activity where you will use the periodic table to identify different chemical elements.

Helpful Resources

Timeline: history of the Universe example


Go to Activity 2.2.2   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

2Al

Activity 2.2.2 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Identify different chemical elements
  • Understand the importance of chemical elements

Introduction

You may have heard the phrase ‘chemical elements’ many times before but thought that it’s just some ‘science-y’ concept that isn’t really relevant to you or your life. If you do think that, prepare to be surprised!

In this activity you will be using the periodic table of elements to play a fun trivia-style game where you identify different chemical elements. Some of the chemical element names will sound very familiar to you...


Game: chemical elements 'Who Am I?'

The Wlonk Illustrated Periodic Table of the Elements uses pictures and words to give you information about each of the chemical elements.

Your teacher will either display the periodic table; provide you with a printed copy; or instruct you to access it on the internet. You will find a link in Helpful Resources.

Take a moment to look closely at the periodic table and see how many elements you immediately recognise.

Your teacher will let you know whether you will be playing the game of Chemical Elements ‘Who am I?’ on your own; as a pair or in a group.

Use the Wlonk Periodic Table and the Game: chemical elements ‘Who am I?’ worksheet to answer the following:

  1. 1. I am the first element on the periodic table.
  2. 2. My atomic number is 8 and I am an important element in the air we breathe.
  3. 3. I am used to build airplanes.
  4. 4. I am used in thermometers to measure temperature.
  5. 5. I am used to fill up balloons to make them float.
  6. 6. My atomic number is 19 and I am found in fruit and vegetables.
  7. 7. I am used to keep swimming pools free of harmful bacteria.

The individual or team that answers the most questions correctly wins the game.

2.2.2 - Chemical Elements Who am I Worksheet

Helpful Resources

http://elements.wlonk.com/ElementsTable.htm


Activity 2.2.2 Review

Conclusion

Now that you have had a closer look at the periodic table you will have become familiar with the names of individual chemical elements. To learn more about chemical elements and how they combine to create everyday chemical compounds, view the fun animated music video, ‘Meet the Elements,’ by They Might be Giants. You will find a link in Helpful Resources.

Helpful Resources

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0zION8xjbM


Go to Activity 2.2.3   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

2Al

Activity 2.2.3 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Understand the importance of chemical elements
  • Understand the role of accretion in the formation of our solar system

Introduction

Now that you are more familiar with chemical elements, you will conduct a simple demonstration that shows how the process of accretion brought chemical elements together into larger clumps of matter to become everything in our Universe, including the planets in our solar system.

In this activity you are going to use a transparent cup, stirrer, water and pepper.


Demo: accretion instruction sheet

Do you remember, from watching Mission video 10: Matter and the process of accretion, what accretion is?

It’s the gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

Can you think when you may have seen something like the process of accretion in an everyday situation? For example, when making a chocolate drink you may have found that when you stir the powdered chocolate into the milk the chocolate granules clumped together in the middle?

You are now going to create a simple demonstration of how accretion works. Your teacher will instruct you whether you will be doing this individually or in pairs or a group.

Follow the instructions on the Demo: accretion instruction sheet:

Step 1. Fill your cup halfway with water.

Step 2. Grind some pepper into your cup.

Step 3. Before the next step, Predict what you think will happen to the pepper when you rotate the water in the cup with a stirrer in a circular motion. Write your prediction in the Predict box on the worksheet.

Some questions to think about: Have you ever seen this in real life before? Think about times when you have sand in a bucket at the beach and you swirl the water around, what happens to the sand?

Step 4. Explain why you made this prediction in the Explain box on the worksheet.

Step 5. Carefully rotate the water in your cup with a stirrer in a circular motion.

Step 6. Observe what happens to the pepper granules after you have rotated the water in the cup for a while. Record your observations using labelled diagrams in the Observe box on the worksheet. Complete a “before rotation” diagram of what the pepper looked like beforehand and an “after rotation” diagram of what the pepper looked like afterwards. Write at least one sentence to explain your observation.

Step 7. To finalise the process, Explain what you observed in this demonstration and how it is similar to the process of accretion in the final Explain box on the worksheet.

2.2.3 - Demo - Accretion Instruction Sheet


Activity 2.2.3 Review

Conclusion

If you are part of a class, your teacher will ask you and your classmates to share your responses to the ‘Explain’ questions in the final box on the worksheet:

  1. 1. What did the pepper represent?
  2. 2. What did the rotating motion represent?
  3. 3. What is the process of accretion?

Go to Activity 2.2.4   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

2Al

Activity 2.2.4 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Explain the differences between rocky and gassy planets
  • Describe other key features of our solar system

Introduction

In the last activity you conducted a demonstration which explained how the planets in our solar system formed through the process of accretion. In this activity, you will ‘travel’ through the solar system to become more familiar with the rocky and gassy planets, the sun and other fascinating space objects.


Mission video 11: Our sun and neighbouring planets

While you watch Mission video 11: our sun and neighbouring planets look out for the answers to the following questions:

  1. 1. Which galaxy is our solar system a part of?
  2. 2. What are the gas planets made of?
  3. 3. What is the difference between gas planets and stars?
  4. 4. What are the rocky planets made of?
  5. 5. What else is in our solar system other than planets?

Your teacher will instruct you whether you will answer the questions: as part of a class discussion; as a group/paired discussion; or independently by writing your answers in your Big History School Junior journal (if you have been provided with one).


Download video


Activity 2.2.4 Review

Conclusion

So where does the ‘solar system’ appear on our History of the Universe Timeline?

Either your teacher will help you identify where it appears on the classroom display or you will refer back to the Timeline: history of the Universe worksheet you completed when you did the “3 big mission phase questions” activity. You will find a copy of Timeline: history of the Universe example in Helpful Resources.

Finally, to help give you a sense of the size of our solar system and to explore further its key features, click on the link to BBC Interactive in Helpful Resources. It takes you on a rocket trip from Earth right to the edge of our solar system. Take note of at least 3 things you found interesting/surprising on your rocket trip.

Helpful Resources

Timeline: history of the Universe example

http://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/20140304-how-big-is-space-interactive/


Go to Activity 2.2.5   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

2Al

Activity 2.2.5 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Create a model of the sizes and distances between the Earth, Moon and Mars

Introduction

When you hear that the circumference of Earth is 40, 000km or that the solar system stretches for billions of kilometres, can you really even begin to imagine how big these measurements are?

In this activity you will make a simple Earth, Moon and Mars scale model to try to understand how huge the distances are in our solar system - even between our nearest neighbours. First you will model the relative sizes of Earth, the Moon and Mars. Then you will model the relative distances between Earth, the Moon and Mars.


Model: Earth, Moon and Mars size

When scientists and engineers are working with objects which are too big or too small they will often use scale models to represent them at a size which is easier to work with. Small models are especially useful when dealing with objects the size of moons and planets.

In the first part of this activity you will create a scale model to show the relative size of the Earth, Moon and Mars using the Model: Earth, Moon and Mars size worksheet.

In this model 1cm = 500km.
As a point of reference, Earth has a circumference (length around it) of approx. 40,000km.

Materials:

  • Red, white and blue (or 3 different coloured) balloons
  • A measuring tape for each group or pair

Blue Balloon (Earth)
Step 1. Inflate your blue balloon until you estimate the circumference of the balloon is approximately 80cm.
Step 2. Using the tape measure, measure around the balloon and let air out or blow more air in until the circumference of your balloon is 80cm.
Step 3. Tie off the balloon. This is a representation of Earth to scale.

Red balloon (Mars)
Step 4. Mars is approximately half the size of Earth so you will inflate your balloon until you estimate the circumference is approximately 40cm.
Step 5. Using the tape measure, measure around the balloon and let air out or blow more air in until the circumference of your balloon is 40cm.
Step 6. Tie off the balloon. This is a representation of Mars to scale.

White balloon (Moon)
Step 7. Earth’s Moon is approximately half the size of Mars so you will inflate your balloon until you estimate the circumference is approximately 20cm.
Step 8. Using the tape measure, measure around the balloon and let air out or blow more air in until the circumference of your balloon is 20cm.
Step 9. Tie off the balloon. This is a representation of Earth’s Moon to scale.

Once you have completed your size model, answer the reflection questions on the Model: Earth, Moon and Mars size worksheet.

Model - Earth Moon Mars Size


Model: Earth, Moon and Mars distance

You will now create a scale model of the distance between Earth, the Moon and Mars using the Model: Earth, Moon and Mars distance worksheet.

Remember that, as in the size scale model, 1cm = 500km

Materials:

  • Earth, Moon and Mars balloons from Size Model
  • Metre ruler, measuring tape or trundle wheel
  • Access to Google Maps - link in Helpful Resources

Earth to Moon
The distance between Earth and the moon has been rounded up to 400,000 (4 lakh) kilometres.
Step 1. Choose a starting point and secure the Earth balloon there.
Step 2. Using a metre ruler, measuring tape or trundle wheel, measure out (800 cm) 8 metres and secure the Moon balloon there. This is the distance from Earth to the Moon to scale.

Earth to Mars
The closest Mars ever orbits to Earth is 60 million (6 crore) kilometres (rounded up). To accurately represent the distance of Earth to Mars on this scale, you would have to travel (120,000cm, 1.2 lakh cm) 1200 metres from your Earth starting point.

It’s pretty difficult to estimate how far 1200 metres is! Your teacher may point out a landmark for you that is 1200 metres away. Or, if you have access to Google Maps, you could work out exactly where 1200 metres away is by:

  • Clicking on https://www.google.com/maps and search for your address
  • Right clicking on your address on the map and select "measure distance"
  • Clicking on another point on the map to create a path
  • Adjusting the length of the path until it is 1200 metres

Once you have completed your distance model, answer the reflection questions on the Model: Earth, Moon and Mars distance worksheet.

2.2.5 - Model - Earth Moon Mars Distance

Helpful Resources

https://www.google.com/maps


Activity 2.2.5 Review

Conclusion

If you are part of a class, your teacher will ask you and your classmates to share your responses to the reflection questions on the worksheets:

Model: Earth, Moon and Mars size worksheet:
  • How much bigger is Mars than the Moon?
  • Why do you think Mars looks smaller in the sky than the Moon even though it is larger?
  • Using your scale model as a guide, how much further do you think Mars is than the Moon? Estimate the distances using your balloons.
Model: Earth, Moon and Mars distance worksheet:
  • What surprised you most about the distances between Earth and the Moon and Mars?
  • How long do you think it would take to travel between Earth and the Moon in a spacecraft?
  • How much longer do you think it would take to travel to Mars?
  • If Mars is Earth’s neighbour, can you imagine how much the greater distance to the furthest planet, Neptune, must be? How long would you estimate it would take to travel to Neptune?
  • Humans have landed on the Moon but have not yet landed on Mars. What extra challenges do you think there are for planning a manned trip to Mars?

Go to Learning summary   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

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Learning summary

How did our solar system form?

In how did our solar system form? you learned all about chemical elements, the process of accretion and the key features of our solar system.

Now it’s time to revisit your How did our solar system form? learning goals and read through them again carefully.

As you read each learning goal, tick the check box beside it if you are confident you have achieved that learning goal.

You’ll find that some learning goals are harder to achieve than others. If you find that there are learning goals that you’re not confident you’ve achieved yet, you may like to re-watch the Mission video which relates to that learning goal and/or ask your teacher for help.

Junior 2.2 Post



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