Exoplanets

This resource has been devised by The Royal Observatory Edinburgh with the Institute of Physics Scotland, to inspire secondary science classes. They are mainly used by students aged 11-14 years but can be used from upper primary to upper secondary.

Students investigate exoplanets. They use data from real research in group work and model-making. To summarize their findings, classes are encouraged to present their work, for example, through a short film. The activities have been devised so that they can be used independently in the classroom by science teachers, or with an introductory session from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh either at a school or at the observatory.

Using real data from stars which have been found to have planets orbiting them, students make models of these other 'solar systems'. Looking at their star and its planets, students can determine whether any of the planets could support life, and investigate how the system differs from our own Solar System. Ideally the class is split into 4 groups, each group having a different planet system to study.

The “Introduction to Exoplanets” film can be used to introduce the concept of exoplanets to students. The film “Using the Deep Space Exoplanets Resources” shows a group of teachers carrying out the tasks and explains what is involved.

For background information about exoplanets you can download the teachers' notes.

There is a student fact sheet, a students task sheet, and information sheets about our own solar system and four other star-planet systems.

 

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