FOSS Module Summary

Course Summary – Planetary Science (1st Ed.)


The FOSS Planetary Science Course emphasizes the use of knowledge and evidence to construct explanations for the structures and motions of objects in the Solar System. Students study the Earth as a celestial object before progressing to lunar science and lunar exploration. They then move on to the Solar System and the objects that exist and move within the system. Activities explore the origin of the Moon, celestial motions, Moon phases, lunar geology, cratering processes, imaging technologies, scaling and space exploration.


  • Gain familiarity with maps and images presented in a variety of scales to develop a sense of Earth.
  • Use models and simulations to make observations, gather evidence, and draw conclusions about the shape of Earth and its motions in relation to the Sun and Moon.
  • Observe and record the Moon’s appearance for a month and consider how the relationship of the Sun, Earth and Moon causes Moon phases.
  • Design and conduct experiments to relate that change the effect of impact on landforms.
  • Observe, measure and organize lunar rocks by properties, including density, and use this information to make inferences about the origin of the Moon.
  • Consider how imaging technology helps Earth-based scientists make inferences about the size, shape and appearance of other objects in the Solar System.
  • Become familiar with and acquire vocabulary concerning these concepts: Solar System, planet, satellite, crater, atmosphere, scale orbit, revolution, day and night, interaction, change.
  • Exercise language, social studies, and math skills in the context of science.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, relating, and inferring.

For a description of each investigation in the Planetary Science Course and the correlations to the National Science Education Standards, download the Course Summary PDF.

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