RPM 1/23/13: Science, The Origins of the Earth
I opened by telling Joey that today we would shift gears a little bit away from the French Revolution, and focus on science. However, history would still be involved, as we would be learning about the history of the earth, and how it was created.
On a side note, Joey wrote all of his answers today on a laminated letter board, pointing to each letter with his finger, instead of using a pen to hook into them on a stencil letter board. The motor skill involved here is slightly different and more challenging for Joey. Also, I have attached a diagram that I found in an academic text book, that shows the various stages of the creation of the universe.
I asked Joey if he ever had wondered how the earth was created?
J: YOU KNOW I REALLY THINK IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN HERE, IT IS US WHO MIGHT HAVE JUST ARRIVED.
Well, the earth has certainly been around for much longer than humans have lived on it, but there was a time when the earth did not yet exist. Most scientists believe that Earth, the sun, and the other planets in our solar system began to form about 4.5 to 5 billion years ago.
So, what kind of time frame are we really looking at here?
J: TOTALLY THOUGHT THAT SAME THING THAT THE EARTH IS WAY OLDER THAN HUMAN LIFE. SCIENTISTS THINK THAT THE EARTH IS NEARLY 5 BILLION YEARS OLD.
During our lesson thus far, Joey has been sipping on an organic smoothie that I brought him as a snack. At this point he reached for the letter board, and said “letter board” out loud.
J: YOU THINK SMOOTHIES HAVE BEEN AROUND THAT LONG?
I explained that I’m not completely sure when smoothies were officially created, but since one needs electricity and a blender in order to make smoothies, I would bet that they were created sometime in the last one hundred years.
However, as far as how Earth was created, scientists believe our solar system began as a huge cloud of dust and gases, that was both rotating and contracting. I showed Joey the first part of the diagram depicting the creation of the solar system.
I asked Joey for his reaction?
J: SMART SCIENTISTS THINK THAT THE FIRST STAGE OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM WAS A LARGE CLOUD OF DUST AND GAS, THIS HUGE CLOUD WAS ROTATING AND CONTRACTING.
Then, as most of the material in this cloud was drawn inward and toward the center by the force of gravity, eventually the center region gained a lot more density, eventually becoming what is known as the sun. I now showed Joey the second second part of the diagram, showing a smaller cloud with a very dense, and brighter, center.
I asked Joey to explain, in his own words, what was going on?
J: GRAVITY IS HAVING ITS WAY WITH THIS CLOUD CONTRACTING ITS ENERGY AND CONDENSING IT INTO A LARGE SUN.
Some of the material continued to orbit the central body of the sun in separate rings. Gradually, some of the material in these rings began to clump together, and this is eventually how the planets were formed. At this point I showed Joey the third stage of the diagram.
So, other than the formation of the sun, what else is going on here?
J: I’M LEARNING SO MINTLY THAT GRAVITY PLAYED AN ESSENTIAL ROLE IN OUR EXISTENCE. IN THE OUTER AREA MATTER CONTINUED TO ORBIT AND CLUMP INTO PLANETS THANKS TO GRAVITY.
So, over time, the process continued, and most of the remaining material was either drawn into on of the orbiting planets by gravity, or it was swept out into space and seemed to disappear. And so, the solar system, in which Earth is one of many planets, took its current shape… I showed JOey the fourth and final part of the diagram now.
J: THE FINAL STAGE INCLUDED THE MATTER FURTHER CONDENSING INTO PLANETS OR BLOWING OFF INTO SPACE. THOSE LARGER PIECES CONTINUED TO ORBIT THE SUN AND FORM THE SHAPE OF OUR CURRENT SOLAR SYSTEM.