• Article

Exploring the solar system?


Charles, K., Canales, J. D., Smith, A., & Zimmerman, N. (2012). Exploring the solar system? Let the Math teachers help! Science Scope, 35(6), 37-44.


Scale measurement and ratio and proportion are topics that fall clearly in the middlegrades mathematics curriculum in our state, Texas. So does the solar system. In addition, the National Science Education Standards include the solar system in Earth and space science in the 5–8 grade band and promote the coordination of the science and mathematics curricula
in Program Standard C (NRC 1996). In its chapter on Earth and space sciences, the new Framework for K–12 Science Education (NRC 2011) references Earth’s place in the solar system and notes that these sciences “involve phenomena that range in scale from the unimaginably large to the invisibly small” (p. 121). But, as middle school mathematics
teachers, we had never considered the connection until we participated in a weeklong academy offered by NASA this past summer in our
school district. The academy encouraged middle and high school math and science teachers to consider how using models and simulations, or
ModSim, could expand their repertoire of classroom strategies and engage students more fully in their own context-rich learning.