Exoplanets/Exoplanets Worksheet

Comparing the Earth to an Exoplanet

Grade: 6-8

Subject Integrated: Science

Rationale:
In this lesson, students will compare Earth to one of the many exoplanets found by the Kepler spacecraft.

Objectives:
Students will be able to compare Earth’s characteristics to those of a specific exoplanet.

Materials:

  • Computer
  • Google Slides
  • Notebooks
  • Pencils
  • Whiteboard
  • Worksheet (Appendix 2)

Learning Activities:

    a) Instructional Materials and Resources

    b) Procedure
    • Teacher asks the class if they have heard of any exoplanets and what they are.
    • Teacher will write what the students have heard of on the board.
    • Teacher should have previous knowledge on Kepler exoplanets, their characteristics, and how they are similar to and different from Earth (research websites beforehand).
    • Students are given time to turn to a neighbor and talk about exoplanets.
    • Teacher will re-ask the questions about exoplanets.
    • Students will be given an opportunity to research on chromebooks or computers to see what they can discover.
    • After 15 minutes of researching, students are to choose a specific exoplanet to research.
    • To limit competition and encourage a breadth of learning, students should not choose the same exoplanet unless they are working collaboratively.
    • Students are responsible for researching what is known (or estimated) about the mass, location, host star, constellation, distance, temperature, orbit of the exoplanet.
    • Once information is found and recorded, students are to create a class combined Google Slide for each for each of the exoplanets researched to use to learn about each one.
    • Optional Extensions:
      • Students might discuss how we would plan for a trip to visit one of these exoplanets.
      • Learners might write about a mission to explore one of their exoplanets.
      • The class could create a skit about visiting exoplanets and perform it for younger students.
      • The class could have a costume party, dressing up as exoplanet residents and banqueting on brainstormed exoplanet foods.


    c) Instructional Groups
    • Lesson will be taught to the class as a whole.
    • One Google Slide per planet, per student or small group.

    d) Discussion
    • What is an exoplanet?
    • What is the Kepler spacecraft?
    • What is a habitable zone?
    • What can we compare and contrast between Earth and your selected exoplanet?

    e) Assessment
    • Summative assessment will be used.
    • Teacher will guide students to resources and/or plausible answers if they are having trouble.
    • Teacher will take notes on students with trouble with the skills for further assistance.
    • The teacher will assess the students’ based on their completion of the assignment and participation in the discussion.
    • Optional: Rubrics can be made to score the completion of the requirements on the Google Slide as summative assessment.

Closure:

    a) Ending the Lesson
    • Google slide presentation can be presented slide by slide.
    • Google slide can be posted on class webpage for study purposes.

    b) Evaluating and Reflection of the Lesson
    • Evaluation of lesson will be done by thorough summative assessment.
    • Teacher will observe to make sure each student understands the concept introduced in the lesson.
    • Teacher will make sure all requirements and guidelines are met by giving specific instructions to students who struggle with the skills.
    • Teacher will self-critique on what worked well and what did not work well in the lesson.
    • Optional: Rubrics can be used for evaluation of oral presentation.

Standards:

  • NGSS: MS-ESS2-2. (supportive fit) Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.

Teacher References:



The content was developed at Albion College by Professor Nicolle Zellner (Albion College Department of Physics) and Victoria Della Pia (Albion Elementary School), with educational oversight by Melissa Kirven-Brooks (NASA Astrobiology). To develop these lesson plans and assessments, Victoria Della Pia was supported by a grant from the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity at Albion College.