Asteroids can be thought of as minor planets. They are made up of most of the same stuff as planets, but are much smaller. The four largest known are spherical, or ball-shaped, like the Earth, and have diameters between 100 and 500 miles.
To introduce the asteroid to your budding cosmologist, students learned a few important facts about asteroids. They learned that asteroids are space rocks that are composed of rock, metals, and other elements.
There are a host of asteroids that vary in their composition and size, and we created a few of them in our class! Our first endeavor was the siliceous asteroid. These asteroids are comprised of silicate, nickel, and iron. Using moon sand, and rocks, we replicated this most exciting planetoid.
The second asteroid we created was the carbonaceous asteroid. This asteroid is made up of clay and silcate rocks. To construct this type of asteroid, we used clay and rocks.
This activity accessed several developmental areas, including spatial reasoning, technical problem solving, and critical thinking skills. How did they do this? First, as they combined materials, they visualized the most beneficial means to navigate space. Then they had to evaluate new information by breaking it into meaningful components. Finally, they had to convert their understanding of an idea into a physical model.