Voyage to the Planets gives students an opportunity to research the planets and the Sun in our Solar System. The unit is an inquiry-based WebQuest requiring students to work in teams to research one celestial object. They use their research to create a PowerPoint presentation as well as a model of a planetary probe to further explore their object. The WebQuest may be found at the following Internet address: http://www.spomonie.com/mrp/voyage/title.htm.
The students who will work on this project are predominately African-American urban youth living in the New Haven area. The students come from families of low socio-economic levels and have little interaction with computers. They are in fifth grade at the Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School. Barnard is a school that currently services approximately 400 Pre-K through sixth grade students. The school's magnet focus is on environmental studies; therefore, it has a strong emphasis on science education.
Since many of the students have little computer experience, this lesson centers on the use of computers connected to the Internet. The computers will allow the students to access the most current information on the Solar System. The newest information enables the students to learn things that are not even published in text books. This unit reaches objectives from the New Haven Public School's fifth grade science curriculum on the Solar System.