Researching our Solar
System
The science of astronomy has existed for thousands of years. The Greeks first observed objects moving in the
night sky and called them, “Planetes”, or wanderers.
Today, we have expanded on the original ideas and questions proposed by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and
our research has led to new discoveries and deeper knowledge of our universe. We have developed a government
funded space program (NASA), have sent humans to space and the moon, and are continuing to research how to
send both un-manned and manned flights further out in our solar system and beyond.
You and your group will take on the role of an astronomical researcher, focusing specifically on a planet or body
that inhabits our solar system. You will be responsible for finding important and interesting information about
your topic, and then presenting these findings to the class through a PowerPoint presentation.
Mr. Carter will be visiting our class to discuss how to conduct proper research, cite your sources, and to create
your PowerPoint presentation.
To celebrate our research and presentations, each group will be responsible for creating an edible version of their
topic to share with the class. This may be 3D or 2D in design, but must be large enough to give a sample of your
creation to at least 20 STUDENTS.
Extra credit will be awarded for students who choose to dress up for their presentation. Ladies may wear
appropriate dress attire. Gentlemen should wear a collared shirt and tie.
Topics to Research
 Age
 Size
 When it was discovered
 Purpose of its name
 Distance from Earth
 Gravity (How much would you weigh if you were on this planet?)
 Atmosphere composition and planet surface composition
 Topography (landscape, mountains, rivers, valleys, etc.)
 Temperature/climate
 Period of rotation and revolution (How long is a day on this planet? How long is a year?)
o How old would you be on this planet?
 Moons or satellites. (How many does it have?)
 Unique features and facts
Resources
Mr. Carter has pulled a variety of resource books for you to use. These will be available for both 8th grade science
classes. In addition to these books, you may also use your textbook. There are several sections that discuss the
solar system, planets, and our sun.
YOU MUST USE AT LEAST 1 BOOK RESOURCE FOR YOUR PROJECT!
Below I have provided several good websites to help get you started.
Nasa.gov
Solarsystem.nasa.gov
Nineplanets.org
Sciencenews.org
Discovermagazine.com
Popsci.com
We will be using our iPads to conduct the majority of our research. You may use the app “Solar System” as well
as Safari web browser.
YOU MUST USE AT LEAST 2 DIGITAL RESOURCES FOR YOUR PROJECT!
How you will be graded.
You will be graded both individually and as a group. Your group grade will be based on providing all of the
required information in your presentation to class. You will be expected to cite your sources properly, and explain
your research fully.
Your individual grade will be based upon each person in your group speaking. Each group member will be
responsible for presenting two slides of information to the class. You will be expected to expand on points
outlined on your PowerPoint. DO NOT READ FROM YOUR SLIDES COMPLETELY.
Good Luck!!
To Infinity and Beyond!!
Rubric
Meets (15 – 17 pts.)
Topic
Exceeds (18 – 20 pts.)
Background/Basic
Information
Students present their
research with a clear and
accurate understanding of
the planet, and they
include 11 or 12 of the
topics to research.
Students have no
significant errors in the
facts presented.
The slide show is well
organized and flows
smoothly from one topic
to the next. There is a
logical sequence of slides.
Students present their
research in a visually
appealing way and include
several different types of
images including pictures,
graphs, and diagrams that
relate to and enhance the
content.
Students include all
information and format
citations correctly.
Students present their
research with a basic
understanding of the
planet, and they include 810 of the topics to
research. Students may
have a few errors in the
facts presented.
Students do not present
accurate information
about their planet. They
include less than 8 of the
topics to research.
Students have several
errors in the facts
presented.
The slide show is
organized and flows from
one topic to the next.
There is a basic sequence
of slides.
Students present their
research in a visually
appealing way and include
a few different types of
images including pictures,
graphs, and diagrams that
are related to the content.
The slide show is not
organized and does not
flow from one topic to the
next. There is no
sequence of slides.
Students do not present
their research in a visually
appealing w ay. The
images are irrelevant or
inaccurate.
Students make few errors
in citation.
Students do not format
citations correctly.
Students do not provide
all information for
citations.
Exceeds (18 – 20 pts.)
Meets (15 – 17 pts.)
Does Not Meet (10 – 15
pts.)
Student demonstrates a
basic understanding of the
subject. The student
shows some preparedness
and enthusiasm.
Student does not
demonstrate knowledge
or an understanding of the
content. Student does not
show preparedness and
enthusiasm.
Organization of
Presentation
Visual Appeal
(Images)
Works Cited
Individual Grade
Presentation
Student demonstrates
clear and detailed
understanding of the
subject and presents it in
an organized manner.
Student shows
preparedness and
enthusiasm in their
presentation. Student
speaks clearly and
elaborates on slide
information
Group Member___________________________
Grade:
/100
Does not Meet (10 – 15
pts.)
TIMELINE
Monday Feb. 4
Tuesday Feb. 5
Wednesday Feb. 6
Thursday Feb. 7
Friday Feb. 8
RESEARCH
RESEARCH
RESEARCH
RESEARCH
RESEARCH
Monday Feb. 11
Tuesday Feb. 12
Thursday Feb. 14
Friday Feb. 15
POWERPOINT
POWERPOINT
Wednesday Feb.
13
HALF-DAY
POWERPOINT
POWERPOINT
POWERPOINT
Monday Feb. 18
Tuesday Feb. 19
Wednesday Feb.
20
Thursday Feb. 21
Friday Feb. 22
NO SCHOOL
PRESENTATIONS
PRESENTATIONS
CELEBRATION
PRESENTATIONS
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Solar-System-Research