Physical Science 44

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The Solar System I

The solar system is made up of the sun and everything that orbits around it. This includes planets, moons, asteroids, comets and meteoroids. Something many adults don’t know is that our solar system is the ONLY solar system. Everything else is called a stellar system or star system. Sometimes we call other star systems a “solar system” … but, really they should be called a star system.


Day 1 – Introduction
Day 2 – Virtual Textbook


1:43 How big is the Solar System?

10:16 Introduction to the Solar System: Crash Course Astronomy #9

4:39 What Is The Kuiper Belt?



Background: According to, “our planetary system is the only one officially called ‘solar system,’ but astronomers have discovered more than 2,500 other stars with planets orbiting them in our galaxy. The expression “solar system” is generally reserved to describe our local star (sun) and its orbiting bodies. However, some publications and professional scientists talk about “other solar systems” when referring to star systems other than our sun and its planets.

  • Position A: The expression “solar system” should be reserved to describe ONLY earth’s star (the sun) and the sun’s surrounding bodies.
  • Position B: The expression “solar system” can and should be used to refer to ANY star system, including the sun, which has various planets and other orbiting celestial bodies.

Instructor Resources

Standard Daily Material
  • Day 1 – Standard material – introduction day
  • Day 2 – Standard material – reading day
  • Day 3 – Standard material – make a presentation
  • Day 4 – Standard material – give a presentation
  • Extra! – Enrichment and remediation options
Other Topic Specific Resources

Special Notes and Notices

Instructor Emphasis:

  • Science & Engineering Practice: Engage in scientific argument from evidence.
  • Cross-Cutting Concept: Stability and Change.