Are you planning a unit on the solar system? If you’re looking for ways to make your lessons more interactive and engaging, there are plenty of hands-on educational toys to choose from such as inflatable solar systems, miniature rockets, and even planetariums.
However, when it comes to learning about our universe, one of the most innovative solar system toys today is AstroReality. Combining the latest 3D printing technology and topographical data from NASA, AstroReality has created the world’s most realistic model of our solar system encompassing 10 planets and 8 moons. But, it’s not just that — the innovative team has created an augmented reality app, which brings the solar system to life right before your students’ eyes!
Students simply launch the AstroReality App and point their smart device at one of the celestial bodies to unlock an encyclopedia of fascinating facts and artificial intelligence.
Here’s how you can incorporate AstroReality in the classroom.
1. Mission to the Moon
Take a field trip to the moon with AstroReality LUNAR Pro or LUNAR Regular. As a class, you can use the Augmented Reality app to explore the Moon’s volcanoes, craters, and seas, even venturing to the far side of the Moon. Utilize an inquiry-based learning approach by inviting students one at a time to navigate the app and pose their own question. Meanwhile, the screen is projected onto a smart whiteboard for the whole class to see. Provide each student with a diagram of the far and near side of the moon and give him or her an ambitious mission to accurately record as many significant landmarks as possible. An extension of this lesson could include recording locations using longitude and latitude.
2. A Scale Model of the Solar System
Create a scale model of the solar system using the AstroReality Solar System Ultimate set. Students can find and record each planet’s radius, diameter, circumference, and distance from the sun using the AstroReality app. The 3D models offer a visual aid to help students understand these measurements. Using a problem-based learning approach, challenge students to create a scale model of the solar system, which demonstrates the distance of each planet from the sun using just one roll of string (22 inches). As an extension, accelerated students could also accurately portray the relative size of each planet using a compass and A3 paper
3. Geography: Pizza & Planets
Earth is made up of different layers of spherical shells. An outer layer of solid crust that is either continental or oceanic. Followed by the mantle, which is the thickest layer made up of semi-molten rock called magma. Beneath the mantle lies a liquid outer core that protects a solid inner core made of iron and nickel. Temperatures hover around 10,000°F.
Using AstroReality EARTH, show your class a stunning 3D cross-sectional model of our planet, which accurately illustrates each layer and provides detailed information about the composition and purpose. For example, when looking at the Earth’s crust, students can learn about tectonic plates and how their movement causes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. While exploring the Earth’s layers with the AstroReality app, students can create a pizza diagram of Earth that depicts each segment and its purpose.
4. Planet Group Presentations
Spit your class into small groups and assign each group one of the nine planet models from AstroReality Solar System Ultimate set. Tell your students they are going to make a poster to present to the class using information using the AstroReality app. The poster should be colorful and creative and needs to answers the following questions:
• What planet are you researching?
• When and how did we discover the planet?
• What does the planet look like?
• How big or small is the planet?
• How far away is the planet from the Sun?
• How does this planet differ from Earth?
Discuss ways the groups can divide up the presentation. For example, each person is responsible for answering two questions and drawing one image.
5. Explore the Effects of Climate Change
Students often see climate change as a future threat — a prediction about what might happen in many years to come. However, with AstroReality EARTH you can change their perceptions. Students can explore scientific data that shows how the Earth’s climate has already changed. By projecting the AstroReality app on a smart screen, the whole class can watch how weather systems have shifted over the last 4.6 billion years and investigate very-real examples of how climate change has caused our glaciers to recede, our sea levels to rise and much more. These examples are not only perfect for engaging students at the beginning of a lesson but also prompting discussions or class debates.
Students can then work in small groups to create a working definition of climate change, describe the causes of climate change, and discuss the effects of climate change. A homework task could include researching an innovative solution to global warming.
6. Create Timeline of Earth
Explore the past, present, and future of Earth’s plant kingdoms with AstroReality’s EARTH model. Split your class into small groups and provide each with an EARTH model, smart tablet, A3 paper, and pens. Each group can make a timeline to demonstrate the evolution of plant species over time. Other timelines you could create as a class include how the Earth’s landmasses have changed or the history of human space exploration.
7. Migration Movements Map
As a class, you can use AstroReality EARTH to explore migration patterns of different animals and discuss factors that lead to endangered and extinct species. Some question you may like to pose to the class include:
• What kind of environment would you want to live in and why?
• Why do animals choose to migrate?
• How does human migration impact animals?
• How does animal migration impact humans?
• Do animal and human migrations differ and why?
• How do adaptations influence the survival of humans and animals?
Students could then work independently to create a map that shows an animal’s migration route, including the mode of transport (swimming, walking, flying, etc.), the frequency of migration (once or twice a year) and the reason for movement.
8. Comparing Planets with a Venn Diagram
The AstroReality app is a great way to get students thinking about the similarities and differences between each planet in our solar system. Tell your students were going to create a Venn diagram together on the whiteboard to compare and contrast two celestial bodies.
Firstly, you’ll need to select two AstroReality models. For example EARTH and LUNAR. Select one student at a time to find an exciting feature of Earth using the AstroReality app. Then ask the class whether they think the Moon also shares this feature? For example, does the Moon have gravity too? If students don’t know the answer, invite a volunteer to ask LUNAR. The artificial intelligence will tell the class that the moon does have a gravitational force, but it’s only 1/6th as powerful as Earth’s gravity. After modeling this activity on the board, students can create their own Venn diagram with two other AstroReality models. You can finish off the lesson with some key discussion questions like:
• What features of Earth make it safe for humans?
• What do you think it would be like to live on the Moon?
• How is being on the Moon different than being on Earth?
Unlock a World of Discovery!
Designed to capture the wonder and curiosity of your students’ minds, AstroReality offers the best solar system toys, and is the perfect addition to any classroom. With an endless array of opportunities, we can’t wait to see w