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Teaching Space (Pluto question)
Old 06-08-2013, 03:29 PM
 
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I haven't taught a space unit but am planning something right now for summer camp.

Since Pluto was discovered not to be a planet, what do you do? Leave it out of the books and lessons?

I'm doing something on how far away the planets are and it uses pluto, the farthest, to make comparisons for all the others.

I don't feel like rewriting everything for Neptune to be the last planet.

What do other teachers do?


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I bring up
Old 06-08-2013, 03:34 PM
 
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how and why Pluto was "demoted." We then refer to it in class as a dwarf planet. (It is the tenth largest body orbiting the Sun.) I still do activities where it is referred to as a planet and it is listed as a planet in our text.
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Old 06-08-2013, 06:09 PM
 
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I also mention it was demoted to dwarf planet status but I let the kids pick Pluto when they chose a planet to report on. Old habits die hard I guess. No harm in my book if they realize it is not officially considered a planet anymore.
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I mention it
Old 06-08-2013, 06:25 PM
 
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I still mention it because some books still list but it leads to a good discussion about how science can change.
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:26 AM
 
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I teach the 8 planets. I also teach the other kinds of objects in space--asteroids, comets, stars, moons, and dwarf planets. (Pluto isn't the only dwarf planet.) l teach that Science is always changing, new discoveries are being made, and that Pluto was classified as a planet up until a few years ago. There are books and websites that explain quite well. Scientists have had to refine and tweak definitions to accurately describe objects. Any time we read an older book that says there are 9 planets, l remind the kids that Science is always changing. (In some books, the number of moons Saturn, for example, changes, as more were discovered.)

One of the teachers in my school, thankfully not a science teacher, last year, said that Pluto is now a star. I wanted to Gibbs head-slap her, but l chose to educate her instead. :-)


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poor poor Pluto!
Old 06-09-2013, 05:32 AM
 
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I do a rather extensive solar system unit with my third grade science class. We are using very old science texts and resources that include Pluto as a planet. The first time we encounter this problem, I explain to the children that Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet several years ago because of its size and distance from the sun. I show exaggerated sympathy for "poor, poor Pluto," and we move on.

From there on out, whenever we come across Pluto in our reading we all stop and shout "poor, poor Pluto!" The kids love it. They are engaged, paying attention to every word we read, and they remember that no matter what the book says, Pluto is not considered a proper planet anymore.

Last edited by opal4; 06-09-2013 at 05:34 AM.. Reason: OCD rears its ugly head.
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:38 AM
 
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I do the same as the others. I would recommend NASA's website. They have a ton of resources. I got to put my name on a chip that is part of the Mars rover during my workshop! There is an Educational consultant assigned to your state. He/she can send you free resources (I got some glasses that you can use to look at the sun.)
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Planets
Old 06-09-2013, 08:42 AM
 
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This in no way answers your question, but I had to share!
I discovered this webquest and had my students complete it at the end of the year. It was awesome!!! Thought maybe you could use it...
http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/de/webquests/p...webquest2.html
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