Grado
5

Math in Our World: Interplanetary Journeys

Sophie and Eloise like to look at the night sky and imagine what it would be like to travel between the planets.

They found a chart showing the average distances between the planets in Astronomical Units (AUs). (1 AU = the average distance between the Sun and the Earth, approximately 93,000,000 miles or 149,600,000 km.)

MercuryVenusEarthMarsJupiterSaturnUranusNeptune
Mercury00.340.611.144.829.1418.8229.70
Venus0.3400.280.804.488.8018.4929.37
Earth0.610.2800.524.208.5218.2129.09
Mars1.140.800.5203.687.9917.6928.56
Jupiter4.824.484.203.6804.3214.0124.89
Saturn9.148.808.527.994.3209.7020.57
Uranus18.8218.4918.2117.6914.019.70010.88
Neptune29.7029.3729.0928.5624.8920.5710.880
  1. What do you notice? What do you wonder?
  2. Use pictures, models, or numbers to describe some of the data in the table.
  3. What mathematical questions can you ask about this situation? Answer all the questions you can!

Choose any planet to start from. Use a number line to model the distance in AUs to one or more other planets.

  • How much farther is one planet away than another one?
  • How far would a roundtrip journey be between two planets of your choosing?

There aren’t just planets in our solar system. Like Earth, a lot of planets have moons. Do some research.

  • Which planets have moons?
  • How many moons?
  • How do their sizes and distances from their planet compare with Earth’s moon?

Show your work to someone else, and explain your thinking. Did they understand? Ask whether they have any other questions you can answer!