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Planet Paths: Studying Planetary Oribital Paths
This lesson plan is part of the Center for Educational Resources (CERES), a series of web-based astronomy lessons created by a team of master teachers, university faculty, and NASA researchers. It is designed to help students understand that planets travel in nearly circular orbits around the Sun, and that planetary motion obeys laws defined by Kepler and Newton. Students look at websites demonstrating orbital motion and complete a series of modeling activities. This lesson contains expected outcomes for students, materials, background information, follow-up questions, and assessment strategies.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lesson plan
  • Space science
Technical requirements:
Must be able to play .avi files for some video clips.
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright and Other Restrictions Information is Unknown.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-002-367
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
        • Form and function
        • Systems, order, and organization
      • B - Physical science:
        • Motion and forces
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth in the solar system
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • History of science
        • Nature of science
        • Science as a human endeavor
Related resources:
This resource is referenced by 'Center for Educational Resources (CERES) Project'
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Principal Investigator: George Tuthill
Montana State University

Principal Investigator: Kim Obbink
Montana State University

Publisher: NASA Center for Educational Resources, Montana State University