Science Teaching Series

Internet Resources

I. Developing Scientific Literacy

II. Developing Scientific Reasoning

III. Developing Scientific Understanding

IV. Developing Scientific Problem Solving

V. Developing Scientific Research Skills

VI. Resources for Teaching Science

Activity 19.4.1 – Comparing and contrasting the properties of the planets

planetsAstronomy books group the inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) separate from the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune).  Are there any characteristics the inner planets share other than their proximity to the Sun.  Are there any characteristics the outer planets share other than their great distance from the Sun?  Table 19.9 is a summary of planetary data arranged so one can sort according to a variety of characteristics [the file can be downloaded from].   The outer planets are italicized.  Sort (arrange) the planet database on each characteristic and examine the listing for similarities within the two groups.

(1) Identify properties that characterize the inner planets and outer planets.

(2) Identify properties that cannot be used to differentiate inner and outer planets.