SC.8.E.5.3

Distinguish the hierarchical relationships between planets and other astronomical bodies relative to solar system, galaxy, and universe, including distance, size, and composition.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 8
Body of Knowledge: Earth and Space Science
Idea: Level 3: Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning
Big Idea: Earth in Space and Time - The origin and eventual fate of the Universe still remains one of the greatest questions in science. Gravity and energy influence the formation of galaxies, including our own Milky Way Galaxy, stars, the planetary systems, and Earth. Humankind’s need to explore continues to lead to the development of knowledge and understanding of the nature of the Universe.
Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes
Test Item Specifications
  • Item Type(s): This benchmark may be assessed using: MC item(s)
  • Also Assesses
    SC.8.E.5.1
    Recognize that there are enormous distances between objects in space and apply our knowledge of light and space travel to understand this distance.

    SC.8.E.5.2 Recognize that the universe contains many billions of galaxies and that each galaxy contains many billions of stars.

  • Clarification :
    Students will compare and/or contrast the relative distance, relative size, and general composition of astronomical bodies in the universe.

    Students will describe distances between objects in space in the context of light and space travel.

    Students will describe that the universe contains billions of galaxies and stars.
  • Content Limits :
    Items assessing astronomical bodies are limited to planets, stars, moons, asteroids, nebulae, galaxies, dwarf planets, and comets.

    Items will not assess the order of the planets from the Sun in our solar system in isolation.

    Items will not require memorization of quantitative astronomical data.

    Items will not assess the specific chemical composition of astronomical bodies.

    Items will not require calculations but may require comparison or use of quantitative data, including tables.
  • Stimulus Attributes :
    Distances will be given in units of astronomical units (AU) or light- years.
  • Response Attributes :
    Distances will be given in units of astronomical units (AU) or light- years.
  • Prior Knowledge :
    Items may require the student to apply science knowledge described in the NGSSS from lower grades. This benchmark requires prerequisite knowledge from SC.5.E.5.1, SC.5.E.5.2, and SC.5.E.5.3.
Sample Test Items (1)
  • Test Item #: Sample Item 1
  • Question: The points labeled on the chart below represent the approximate size of Earth, the Milky Way, the Moon, and the Sun. The approximate size of the solar system is also shown.

    which point on the chart best represents the approximate size of the sun?
  • Difficulty: N/A
  • Type: MC: Multiple Choice

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002100: M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002110: M/J Comprehensive Science 3, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001010: M/J Earth/Space Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001020: M/J Earth/Space Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7820017: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002085: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001025: M/J STEM Astronomy and Space Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SC.8.E.5.Pa.1: Recognize that the Moon is closer to Earth than the Sun.
SC.8.E.5.In.3: Identify Earth’s position in the Solar System, and its size relative to the Moon and Sun.
SC.8.E.5.Su.3: Identify that there are planets and moons in the Solar System.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Lesson Plans

Where Should We Move? STEM Lesson Plan:

Students will collect data to identify planet composition, average temperature, and the distance of some planets within the Milky Way Galaxy from the Sun. Students will complete two-way tables to make comparisons. Students will then analyze and interpret their data. Students will make inferences and justify their reasoning.

Type: Lesson Plan

Quest For Life: Space Exploration:

Students must decide the destination of a multi-billion dollar space flight to an unexplored world. The location must be selected based on its potential for valuable research opportunities. Some locations may have life, while others could hold the answers to global warming or our energy crisis. Students must choose the destination that they feel will be most helpful to human-kind.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Earth Science:

Students will understand relative distances between objects (planets, stars, and galaxies) in the universe. A light-year (also light year, symbol: ly) is a unit of length (distance), not time.

Type: Lesson Plan

Asteroids:

In this lesson, students show and discuss that the planets' orbits follows a pattern, compare sizes of asteroids relative to the size of Earth and Earth's moon, make asteroid models, research impact craters, and discuss the likelihood and effects of an asteroid impact on Earth.

Type: Lesson Plan

Designing a Scale Model of the Solar System:

In this lesson, students complete a paper model of the solar system that demonstrates both size and distance from the Sun.

Type: Lesson Plan

Space Telescope: Optics and the EM Spectrum:

In this MEA, students will:

  • identify and compare characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum such as wavelength, frequency, and energy.
  • understand the benefits of studying astronomy using the electromagnetic spectrum and appreciate the amount of knowledge available through data and observations such as planetary images and satellite photographs.
  • assess the value of technology in science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.
  • be able to describe the vast distances between objects in space using an understanding of light and how it travels.
  • be able to analyze scientific texts and support their findings with textual evidence.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorial

Voyage Across the Universe:

Learn about the variety and amazing features of our universe in this interactive tutorial. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Unit/Lesson Sequence

Lesson 1 Our Solar System:

This complete lesson culminates by having the students create a solar system catalog. It goes beyond the typical solar system brochure to include other components of our solar system.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Video/Audio/Animations

What is a Planet?:

This video provides a historical background about the definition of a planet and how different objects discovered in space were classified as planets or fir into a different category

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Science Crossword Puzzles:

A collection of crossword puzzles that test the knowledge of students about some of the terms, processes, and classifications covered in science topics

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulative

Scale of the Universe:

This website allows you to zoom through the universe to compare the relative sizes of some common and uncommon things.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

STEM Lessons - Model Eliciting Activity

Quest For Life: Space Exploration:

Students must decide the destination of a multi-billion dollar space flight to an unexplored world. The location must be selected based on its potential for valuable research opportunities. Some locations may have life, while others could hold the answers to global warming or our energy crisis. Students must choose the destination that they feel will be most helpful to human-kind.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Space Telescope: Optics and the EM Spectrum:

In this MEA, students will:

  • identify and compare characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum such as wavelength, frequency, and energy.
  • understand the benefits of studying astronomy using the electromagnetic spectrum and appreciate the amount of knowledge available through data and observations such as planetary images and satellite photographs.
  • assess the value of technology in science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.
  • be able to describe the vast distances between objects in space using an understanding of light and how it travels.
  • be able to analyze scientific texts and support their findings with textual evidence.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades K-8

Voyage Across the Universe:

Learn about the variety and amazing features of our universe in this interactive tutorial. 

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorial

Voyage Across the Universe:

Learn about the variety and amazing features of our universe in this interactive tutorial. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animations

What is a Planet?:

This video provides a historical background about the definition of a planet and how different objects discovered in space were classified as planets or fir into a different category

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Science Crossword Puzzles:

A collection of crossword puzzles that test the knowledge of students about some of the terms, processes, and classifications covered in science topics

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.