SC.8.E.5.7

Compare and contrast the properties of objects in the Solar System including the Sun, planets, and moons to those of Earth, such as gravitational force, distance from the Sun, speed, movement, temperature, and atmospheric conditions.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 8
Body of Knowledge: Earth and Space Science
Idea: Level 2: Basic Application of Skills & Concepts
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.5.4 Explore the Law of Universal Gravitation by explaining the role that gravity plays in the formation of planets, stars, and solar systems and in determining their motions.

    SC.8.E.5.8 Compare various historical models of the Solar System, including geocentric and heliocentric.

  • Clarification :
    Students will compare and/or contrast the characteristics of objects in the Solar System.

    Students will identify and/or explain the role that gravity plays in the formation and motion of planets, stars, and solar systems.

    Students will compare and/or contrast various historical models of the Solar System.
  • Content Limits :
    Items will not require the use of the formula for the Law of Universal Gravitation or the gravitational constant.

    Items may assess the presence, absence, and/or relative thickness of planetary atmospheres, but not the chemical composition of the atmosphere.

    Items may assess the relationship between distance from the Sun and the length of year and/or the relationship between distance from the Sun and average surface temperature.

    Items will not require memorization of quantitative astronomical data.

    Items may refer to but will not assess the relative size of the Sun.

    Items will not assess the relative distance of objects in our solar system from the Sun.

    Items will not assess the change in velocity dependent upon distance from the Sun for a single planet.

    Items will not assess characteristics of the Sun in isolation.

    Items may assess the concept of eccentricity of orbital paths of astronomical bodies in terms of the differing shapes of orbits, but not specific values of eccentricity or the term eccentricity.

    Items may assess the general properties of specific planets, but will not assess characteristics of inner and outer planets as groups.
  • 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.3.E.5.4, SC.5.E.5.2, and SC.5.E.5.3.
Sample Test Items (1)
  • Test Item #: Sample Item 1
  • Question: The surface of Mercury has many more craters than the surface of Earth has. Which of the following statements best explains why Mercury has many more craters than Earth has?
  • 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))
7920035: Fundamental Integrated Science 2 (Specifically in versions: 2013 - 2015, 2015 - 2017 (course terminated))
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.2: Recognize the Sun and stars as objects in space.
SC.8.E.5.In.7: Compare conditions on other planets in the Solar System to those on Earth, such as gravity, temperature, and atmosphere.
SC.8.E.5.Su.6: Recognize that conditions on other planets in the Solar System are different than those on Earth.

Related Resources

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

Lesson Plans

Moons: Searching for Signs of Life on 'Water Worlds':

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that explains the importance of examining moons in our solar system for signs of life. The text provides evidence on several moons of Saturn and Jupiter and explains how these moons might be good candidates for potentially harboring life, in part due to the presence of water. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a graphic organizer, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

What's Up With Venus? :

In this POE-based lesson, students will explore the relationships between several variables for the inner-terrestrial planets in our solar system. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Search for Extraterrestrial Life:

Students rank locations that NASA should search within our solar system for life. Students begin by reading about the origins of life on Earth and locations within our solar system with the potential for life. After students create a ranked list, they must report their findings to NASA in the form of a letter that also includes the procedure used in ranking their choices. A second request is sent from NASA to include distance from Earth as a factor in the ranking of locations and students must return a letter with their revised rankings and the new procedure used.

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

Discovering Kepler's Law for the Periods of Planets:

Students listen to a video that describes Kepler's determination that planetary orbits are elliptical and then will use data for the solar distance and periods of several of the planets in the solar system, then investigate several hypotheses to determine which is supported by the data.

Type: Lesson Plan

Scientific calculations from a distant planet:

Students will act as mathematicians and scientists as they use models, observations and space science concepts to perform calculations and draw inferences regarding a fictional solar system with three planets in circular orbits around a sun. Among the calculations are estimates of the size of the home planet (using a method more than 2000 years old) and the relative distances of the planets from their sun.

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

Mars Rovers:

Students will work in teams to conduct research and compare Mars and Earth.  They will develop a procedure and explain their reasoning to rank different rover models to determine which one could be the best to deploy as a part of Mars Exploration Project.

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

Lesson 2 Voyage of Discovery:

This lesson allows students to model and compare the distance of planets from the Sun, as well as, compare the relative sizes of the planets using everyday items.

Type: Lesson Plan

Lesson 3 How Far is Far?:

Using a pinhole viewer students will look at a reflected image of the Sun to calculate how far the Sun is from Earth. This activity would be used for enrichment or for advanced students. This lesson requires pre-planning for the teacher to practice making and using the viewers. Simple math calculations are required by the students to complete the assignment.

Type: Lesson Plan

Margot's Venus:

This lesson incorporates Florida Standard elements while teaching the characteristics of Venus and the importance of the Sun to our existence.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorial

Goldilocks and the Three...Planets?:

Compare conditions on Venus, Earth, and Mars, and learn why Earth is an ideal place for life in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Solar System Distances:

Does the concept of relative distance register with you? Try this solar system activity.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Teaching Idea

Phoenix Mars Lander:

A lesson from Nova/PBS that describes the landing of the Phoenix Mars Lander, its purpose, function, and initial findings. The lesson plan provides two ways for students to investigate how the lander would collect data from the surface and the benefits and limitations of different types of space probes to do before watching the video. It provides a 12 minute video to show the Phoenix Mars Lander. Lesson also provides ideas for what students can do after they view the video. Extensions to lesson include pictures of surface of Mars, interview with a scientist and a commentary from Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resources

Amazing Moons:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. This article from NASA addresses how our solar system’s moons may be a more interesting study than some of the planets because they show a possibility of harboring life due to their composition, atmospheres and presence of water.

Type: Text Resource

Jupiter's Long-Lasting Storm:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Most studies of Jupiter's Great Red Spot (a storm) predict that it should have disappeared long ago, and so its continued existence puzzles scientists. A new study that considers the vertical winds within the storm is able to explain why the spot has existed for over 200 years, and could even continue for hundreds of years longer.

Type: Text Resource

Failed "Star" Found in Sun's Backyard:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. A brown dwarf, which is essentially a failed star, has been discovered close to our solar system. The brown dwarf is the coldest and one of the smallest yet discovered. Telescopic images and data helped scientists to find and characterize the failed star.

Type: Text Resource

Tiny Planet Mercury Shrinks Further:

The text’s grade band recommendation is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.

Type: Text Resource

When is a Comet Not a Comet?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The discovery of a comet-like asteroid baffles scientists and poses questions about its formation, make-up, and changing appearance.

Type: Text Resource

The Solar System:

This website provides an overview of objects in the solar system. The user can click on different links to learn about objects such as the inner and outer planets and minor bodies. It also includes a link to explorations and activities. This is the on-line version of the printed "StarDate: the solar system" guide.

Type: Text Resource

Why Isn't Pluto A Planet?:

This Frequently Asked Question page can be used by educators and students as a scientific resource to answer the question, "Why isn't Pluto a planet?". From the International Astronomical Union, the definitive answer from the governing body that classified Pluto as a dwarf planet.

Type: Text Resource

Tutorial

Properties of the Solar System:

This website contains numerous interesting facts, images and activities intended to support greater understanding of properties of our solar system.

Type: 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

AtmosModeler Simulator:

  • Illustrate the change in temperature and pressure of the atmosphere with altitude
  • Show the difference in temperature and pressure of the Earth's atmosphere versus the Martian atmosphere for the same altitude

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

Jupiter: Earth's Shield:

More than 155 planets have been found outside of our solar system since the first extra-solar planet was identified in 1995. The search has long been heavily biased towards finding massive planets with short orbits. Now, to find an Earth-like planet, scientists are looking for a planetary setup that is similar to our own, in which a Jupiter-like planet lies a good distance away from its sun. This video segment adapted from NOVA explores how the arrangement of planets in our solar system may have affected the development of life on Earth.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Distances Between the Planets Animation:

This animation simulates a voyage from the sun past all nine planets. For convenience, the planets are lined up in the same direction. The animation shows each planet's average distance from the sun.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Space School Musical:

Join teenager Hannah on a trip through the solar system in this "hip-hopera" that uses song and dance to introduce the planets, moons, asteroids and more. Download the lyrics for students to learn and perform or just play the videos in class.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulatives

Solar System Exploration:

This resource provides an interactive tool for the exploration of the solar system. To navigate the interactive solar system move the mouse to hover the target over different objects, to learn more about each click to access images, information about scientists, homework help, articles, news, missions, time lines, and important facts.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Gravity and Orbits Simulation:

In this simulation, students will learn the orbits of the Earth and moon as well as gravitational forces. This is a good illustration of the gravitational pull causing tides.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Your Weight on Other Worlds:

Using this online calculator, students enter their weight on Earth. Their "weight" on other planets is calculated.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

STEM Lessons - Model Eliciting Activity

Mars Rovers:

Students will work in teams to conduct research and compare Mars and Earth.  They will develop a procedure and explain their reasoning to rank different rover models to determine which one could be the best to deploy as a part of Mars Exploration Project.

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.

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.

Search for Extraterrestrial Life:

Students rank locations that NASA should search within our solar system for life. Students begin by reading about the origins of life on Earth and locations within our solar system with the potential for life. After students create a ranked list, they must report their findings to NASA in the form of a letter that also includes the procedure used in ranking their choices. A second request is sent from NASA to include distance from Earth as a factor in the ranking of locations and students must return a letter with their revised rankings and the new procedure used.

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

Goldilocks and the Three...Planets?:

Compare conditions on Venus, Earth, and Mars, and learn why Earth is an ideal place for life in this interactive tutorial.

Student Resources

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

Original Student Tutorial

Goldilocks and the Three...Planets?:

Compare conditions on Venus, Earth, and Mars, and learn why Earth is an ideal place for life in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Text Resource

Why Isn't Pluto A Planet?:

This Frequently Asked Question page can be used by educators and students as a scientific resource to answer the question, "Why isn't Pluto a planet?". From the International Astronomical Union, the definitive answer from the governing body that classified Pluto as a dwarf planet.

Type: Text Resource

Tutorial

Properties of the Solar System:

This website contains numerous interesting facts, images and activities intended to support greater understanding of properties of our solar system.

Type: 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

Jupiter: Earth's Shield:

More than 155 planets have been found outside of our solar system since the first extra-solar planet was identified in 1995. The search has long been heavily biased towards finding massive planets with short orbits. Now, to find an Earth-like planet, scientists are looking for a planetary setup that is similar to our own, in which a Jupiter-like planet lies a good distance away from its sun. This video segment adapted from NOVA explores how the arrangement of planets in our solar system may have affected the development of life on Earth.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Distances Between the Planets Animation:

This animation simulates a voyage from the sun past all nine planets. For convenience, the planets are lined up in the same direction. The animation shows each planet's average distance from the sun.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Space School Musical:

Join teenager Hannah on a trip through the solar system in this "hip-hopera" that uses song and dance to introduce the planets, moons, asteroids and more. Download the lyrics for students to learn and perform or just play the videos in class.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulative

Solar System Exploration:

This resource provides an interactive tool for the exploration of the solar system. To navigate the interactive solar system move the mouse to hover the target over different objects, to learn more about each click to access images, information about scientists, homework help, articles, news, missions, time lines, and important facts.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Parent Resources

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

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Solar System Distances:

Does the concept of relative distance register with you? Try this solar system activity.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea