The Planets - Overview

Pan-Canadian Learning Outcomes

It is expected that students will...

Science, Technology, Society and Environment (STSE)

Nature of science and technology

Demonstrate the importance of using the languages of science and technology to compare and communicate ideas, processes, and results (e.g., use appropriate terminology such as "constellations," "planets," "moons," "comets," "asteroids," and "meteors" to describe objects in space)
Describe examples of improvements to the tools and techniques of scientific investigation that have led to new discoveries (e.g., describe examples, such as the lunar buggy, the Canadarm, the Hubble telescope, and space probes, which have extended scientific knowledge)


Describe the physical characteristics of components of the solar system - specifically, the sun, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and meteors

Module Topics

1. General Charateristics

  • Planets orbit the Sun
  • Do not produce their own energy
  • Reflect light from the Sun
  • Appear in our sky as tiny disks of light
  • Two main kinds of planets
    • Rocky
    • Gaseous
  • Some planets have moons

2. Mercury

  • Closest to the Sun
  • Small and barren
  • Several thousand impact craters, much like the Moon

3. Venus

  • Brightest object in our night sky other than the Sun and Moon
  • Similar in size to Earth
  • Dense carbon dioxide atmosphere
  • Hottest planetary suface

4. Earth

  • Only planet capable of sustaining life
  • Formed 4.6 billion years ago
  • Formed 4.6 billion years ago
  • Atmospher
    • Nitrogen and Oxygen
  • A dynamic planet
  • Biological diversity

5. Mars

  • Closest planet to Earth
  • Several characteristics similar to Earth
  • Two moons
    • Phobos and Deimos
  • Huge dust storms
  • Large amounts of frozen water on surface

6. Jupiter

  • Largest planet
    • 11 times bigger than Earth
    • 2.5 times the mass of all other planets combined
  • No solid surface
    • Hydrogen and Helium gases
  • Many moons including four Galilean
    • Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto

7. Saturn

  • Second largest planet
  • Best known for its ring system
  • No solid surface
    • Hydrogen and Helium gases
  • Extremely low density
  • Over 30 known moons

8. Uranus

  • Four times the size of Earth
  • No solid surface
    • Hydrogen and Helium gases
  • Axis of rotation tilted 98o from vertical
  • Ring structure
  • 21 known moons

9. Neptune

  • Discovered after mathematical predictions
  • Upper atmosphere of methane gas
    • Gives a blue color
  • Great dark spot
  • 15 known moons

10. Summary