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Planetary Orbits Laboratory Kit for astronomy and space science is a hands-on activity where you construct ellipses and then explore the shape of a planet’s orbit. Investigate Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.

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Let students see for themselves the difference between a circle and the elliptical path a planet follows as it orbits the Sun. In this hands-on activity, students construct ellipses and then explore the shape of a planet’s orbit as they investigate Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. After analyzing the results of their investigation, students form an operational definition of an ellipse. Durable materials eliminate wobbly pins with hazardous sharp points. Kit includes complete instructions with reproducible student worksheets, detailed background information and valuable Teacher Notes.

Complete for 30 students working in groups of three.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Constructing explanations and designing solutions

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System
HS-ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System

Crosscutting Concepts

Systems and system models

Performance Expectations

HS-ESS1-5. Evaluate evidence of the past and current movements of continental and oceanic crust and the theory of plate tectonics to explain the ages of crustal rocks.