Utah Core Areas
6th Grade Solar System
The appearance of the lighted portion of the moon changes in a predictable cycle as a result of the relative positions of Earth, the moon, and the Sun. Earth turns on an axis that is tilted relative to the plane of Earth's yearly orbit. The tilt causes Sunlight to fall more intensely on different parts of the Earth during various parts of the year. The differences in heating of Earth's surface and length of daylight hours produce the seasons.
Students will understand that the appearance of the moon changes in a predictable cycle as it orbits Earth and as Earth rotates on its axis.
Explain patterns of changes in the appearance of the moon as it orbits Earth.
- Describe changes in the appearance of the moon during a month.
- Identify the pattern of change in the moon's appearance.
- Use observable evidence to explain the movement of the moon around Earth in relationship to Earth turning on its axis and the position of the moon changing in the sky.
- Design an investigation, construct a chart, and collect data depicting the phases of the moon.
Demonstrate how the relative positions of Earth, the moon, and the Sun create the appearance of the moon’s phases.
- Identify the difference between the motion of an object rotating on its axis and an object revolving in orbit.
- Compare how objects in the sky (the moon, planets, stars) change in relative position over the course of the day or night.
- Model the movement and relative positions of Earth, the moon, and the Sun.
Students will understand how Earth's tilt on its axis changes the length of daylight and creates the seasons.
Describe the relationship between the tilt of Earth's axis and its yearly orbit around the Sun.
- Describe the yearly revolution (orbit) of Earth around the Sun.
- Explain that Earth's axis is tilted relative to its yearly orbit around the Sun.
- Investigate the relationship between the amount of heat absorbed and the angle to the light source.
Explain how the relationship between the tilt of Earth's axis and its yearly orbit around the Sun produces the seasons.
- Compare Earth's position in relationship to the Sun during each season.
- Compare the hours of daylight and illustrate the angle that the Sun's rays strikes the surface of Earth during summer, fall, winter, and spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Use collected data to compare patterns relating to seasonal daylight changes.
- Use a drawing and/or model to explain that changes in the angle at which light from the Sun strikes Earth, and the length of daylight, determine seasonal differences in the amount of energy received.
- Use a model to explain why the seasons are reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
The solar system consists of planets, moons, and other smaller objects including asteroids and comets that orbit the Sun. Planets in the solar system differ in terms of their distance from the Sun, number of moons, size, composition, and ability to sustain life. Every object exerts gravitational force on every other object depending on the mass of the objects and the distance between them. The Sun's gravitational pull holds Earth and other planets in orbit. Earth's gravitational force holds the moon in orbit. The Sun is one of billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy, that is one of billions of galaxies in the universe. Scientists use a variety of tools to investigate the nature of stars, galaxies, and the universe. Historically, cultures have observed objects in the sky and understood and used them in various ways.
Students will understand the relationship and attributes of objects in the solar system.
Describe and compare the components of the solar system.
- Identify the planets in the solar system by name and relative location from the Sun.
- Using references, compare the physical properties of the planets (e.g., size, solid or gaseous).
- Use models and graphs that accurately depict scale to compare the size and distance between objects in the solar system.
- Describe the characteristics of comets, asteroids, and meteors.
- Research and report on the use of manmade satellites orbiting Earth and various planets.
Describe the use of technology to observe objects in the solar system and relate this to science's understanding of the solar system.
- Describe the use of instruments to observe and explore the moon and planets.
- Describe the role of computers in understanding the solar system (e.g., collecting and interpreting data from observations, predicting motion of objects, operating space probes).
- Relate science's understanding of the solar system to the technology used to investigate it.
- Find and report on ways technology has been and is being used to investigate the solar system.
Describe the forces that keep objects in orbit in the solar system.
- Describe the forces holding Earth in orbit around the Sun, and the moon in orbit around Earth.
- Relate a celestial object's mass to its gravitational force on other objects.
- Identify the role gravity plays in the structure of the solar system.
Students will understand the scale of size, distance between objects, movement, and apparent motion (due to Earth's rotation) of objects in the universe and how cultures have understood, related to and used these objects in the night sky.
Compare the size and distance of objects within systems in the universe.
- Use the speed of light as a measuring standard to describe the relative distances to objects in the universe (e.g., 4.4 light years to star Alpha Centauri; 0.00002 light years to the Sun).
- Compare distances between objects in the solar system.
- Compare the size of the Solar System to the size of the Milky Way galaxy.
- Compare the size of the Milky Way galaxy to the size of the known universe.
Describe the appearance and apparent motion of groups of stars in the night sky relative to Earth and how various cultures have understood and used them.
- Locate and identify stars that are grouped in patterns in the night sky.
- Identify ways people have historically grouped stars in the night sky.
- Recognize that stars in a constellation are not all the same distance from Earth.
- Relate the seasonal change in the appearance of the night sky to Earth's position.
- Describe ways that familiar groups of stars may be used for navigation and calendars.
3rd Grade Earth and Moon
Earth orbits around the Sun, and the moon orbits around Earth. Earth is spherical in shape and rotates on its axis to produce the night and day cycle. To people on Earth, this turning of the planet makes it appear as though the Sun, moon, planets, and stars are moving across the sky once a day. However, this is only a perception as viewed from Earth.
Students will understand that the shape of Earth and the moon are spherical and that Earth rotates on its axis to produce the appearance of the Sun and moon moving through the sky.
Describe the appearance of Earth and the moon.
- Describe the shape of Earth and the moon as spherical.
- Explain that the Sun is the source of light that lights the moon.
- List the differences in the physical appearance of Earth and the moon as viewed from space.
Describe the movement of Earth and the moon and the apparent movement of other bodies through the sky.
- Describe the motions of Earth (i.e., the rotation [spinning] of Earth on its axis, the revolution [orbit] of Earth around the Sun).
- Use a chart to show that the moon orbits Earth approximately every 28 days.
- Use a model of Earth to demonstrate that Earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours to produce the night and day cycle.
- Use a model to demonstrate why it seems to a person on Earth that the Sun, planets, and stars appear to move across the sky.
Forces cause changes in the speed or direction of the motion of an object. The greater the force placed on an object, the greater the change in motion. The more massive an object is, the less effect a given force will have upon the motion of the object. Earth’s gravity pulls objects toward it without touching them.
Students will understand that objects near Earth are pulled toward Earth by gravity.
Demonstrate that gravity is a force.
- Demonstrate that a force is required to overcome gravity.
- Use measurement to demonstrate that heavier objects require more force than lighter ones to overcome gravity.
Describe the effects of gravity on the motion of an object.
- Compare how the motion of an object rolling up or down a hill changes with the incline of the hill.
- Observe, record, and compare the effect of gravity on several objects in motion (e.g., a thrown ball and a dropped ball falling to Earth).
- Pose questions about gravity and forces.