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How Far Must I Go? Neptune is how far???

How Far Must I Go? Neptune is how far???

The relative size and distance of objects in our solar system is something that can be a challenge for students to conceptually understand.  How Far Must I Go?  is a fun challenge that requires students to design and build a heliocentric scaled model of the orbital radius of the planets in our solar system.

This lesson is rich in mathematics and requires an understanding of proportional relationships in order to determine a scale.  Oliver Orbiter is in need of a quick solar system model to present before a potential funding source for future space exploration.  The students will first research the distance of all of the planets from the sun.  Next, students utilize one of the options provided to represent their scale.  Students must then use their determined scale to design their heliocentric model. 

The pictures below show products in which students utilize fish crackers or pretzel sticks as their chosen material to model the scale.  Notice how each team chose to show the orbital radius differently. 

This challenge will push students to rethink their scale multiple times.  For example, in the student example that used fish crackers, students had to change their scale three times before they made it work on the size of the poster paper they were provided.  This perseverance is essential in mathematical reasoning and understanding.

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