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Asteroids, Comets and NEOs



• Know that asteroids, comets and NEOs can be found in our solar system

• Be able to describe the similarities and differences in the composition and orbit of asteroids and comets.

• Know that it is important to track the orbital path of NEOs, and describe strategies that could be employed to avoid collisions with Earth.





Task 1 - Starter

Find someone who knows...

▪ The names of the planets in our solar system - in order!

▪ Where we find most of the asteroids in our solar system

▪ TWO differences between the orbit of a planet, and the orbit of a comet.





Task 2 - Video clip

Watch this short video, which explains what can happen when a large astronomical body collides with the Earth.  Listen carefully for strategies we could use to avoid these impacts.



Direct link: http://youtu.be/CdYgBHzbwn0




Task 3 - Researching asteroids, comets and NEOs:

You are going to complete a research task to find out more about asteroids and comets.  Present your findings as a poster or a leaflet.


Your leaflet or poster should include details of the following:


1. What is an asteroid? Where do we find most asteroids? Describe the orbit of a typical asteroid.

2. What happens when an asteroid collides with Earth?

3. Where on Earth can we see evidence of large asteroid impacts?

4. What is a comet? How is the shape and orbital speed of a comet different to that of an asteroid?

5. Why do we need to study the path of asteroids & comets? What is an NEO?  What could we do if an object was a danger to the Earth?

Your teacher will provide you with textbooks, including the "OCR Gateway Science" textbooks (orange book, p240-243).  You can also use web based resources to help you find out more; The website www.nearearthobjects.co.uk has some excellent information about NEOs.

Teacher note: the above research prompts are available to download as a powerpoint presentation, if you prefer.


Task 4



Activity details






Task 4



Activity details













a = b × c ÷ d


a = ____, measured in ______ (unit notation).

b = ____, measured in ______ (unit notation).

c = ____, measured in ______ (unit notation).





Extension / MAT work:



Teacher note: The extension / MAT work is available (here - insert hyperlink) as a word document.