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All About Asteroids

What are asteroids? Learn more about these remnants from our solar system’s formation.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Asteroids are pieces of rock in outer space. They range from the size of a small boulder to many miles across. Asteroids are believed to be remnants from the creation of our solar system.
    2. Most asteroids orbit the sun in the asteroid belt between two planets in our solar system. Ask students if they can identify which planets.
    3. There are thousands of documented asteroids. Some even have their own moons. Have students research some of these noteworthy asteroids. What makes them unique?
    4. Have students create a sculpture of an asteroid using Model Magic® modeling compound. Knead, roll, twist and shape the Model Magic to form an asteroid. Students can model the asteroid after something they have researched or create a free-form asteroid. Allow the modeling compound to air dry.
    5. Students give their asteroid some space-inspired sparkle with Model Magic Glaze. Cover the work area with recycled newspaper. Use a brush to apply a thin coat of glaze over the surface of the asteroid. Allow the paint to air-dry.
    6. Students display the asteroid along with their classmate’s work on a flat surface. You created a classroom asteroid belt!
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

    LA: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.

    LA: Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

    MATH: Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.

    SCI: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids by Seymour Simon; Destination: Space by Seymour Simon; Asteroid Impact by Douglas Henderson; The Lonely Existence of Asteroids and Comets (Adventures in Science) by Mark Weakland

    Encourage students working in small groups to develop a model of a single planet in the solar system using Crayola Model Magic. To accompany the planet display, the team will compose an informative summary of facts referencing their chosen planet. As a whole class, students may want to pre-determine the information they are seeking on each planet. The summary may be written in paragraph form or as a bulleted list.

    Scientists believe that asteroids have crashed into Earth in the past. Students research this topic, seeking evidence that suggests this to be true. How have asteroid crashes impacted our planet? What relationship do asteroids have to our existence on planet Earth?

    Students expand their space studies to include comets and meteorites. How do these compare to asteroids? What relationship do they have with Earth?

    Taking on the role of news reporters, students compose and "report" the impending crash of an asteroid into Earth. Consider the steps that may be recommended by governments to keep their people safe, the possible loss of property, accuracy of tracking devices, etc. Video-tape student reporting techniques. Encourage students to use recycled materials and clothing to create their news reporter costume.


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