Math Planet Exploration Web Quest

Solar System Math

Welcome, young explorers, to the Math Planet Exploration! Prepare for an exciting journey through the cosmos as we uncover the hidden mathematical wonders of our solar system. From counting planets to calculating their orbits and discovering the geometry of celestial bodies, get ready to embark on an adventure that will ignite your curiosity and deepen your love for mathematics. Are you ready to blast off into a world where numbers rule the universe? Let the exploration begin!

Task 1: Counting Planets

Your first mission is to count the planets in our solar system. Start by learning about the eight planets that orbit around the sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Explore fun facts about each planet, such as their sizes, distances from the sun, and unique characteristics. Use this information to create a colorful poster or digital presentation showcasing the planets and their order from the sun. As you count the planets, think about their positions and how they relate to each other in the solar system.


Distance from Sun – Approximately 0.39 AU (Astronomical Units)
Orbital Period – Approximately 88 Earth days
Diameter – Approximately 4,880 kilometers
Surface Temperature Range – Extremes from -173°C to 427°C


Distance from Sun – Approximately 0.72 AU
Orbital Period – Approximately 225 Earth days
Diameter – Approximately 12,104 kilometers
Surface Temperature – Extremely high, around 462°C on average


Distance from Sun – Approximately 1 AU
Orbital Period – Approximately 365.25 days
Diameter – Approximately 12,742 kilometers
Average Surface Temperature – About 15°C


Distance from Sun – Approximately 1.52 AU
Orbital Period – Approximately 687 Earth days
Diameter – Approximately 6,779 kilometers
Surface Temperature Range – Extremes from about -140°C to 20°C


Distance from Sun – Approximately 5.20 AU
Orbital Period – Approximately 11.86 Earth years
Diameter – Approximately 139,822 kilometers
Surface Temperature – Difficult to define due to lack of a solid surface; outer atmosphere temperature varies.


Distance from Sun – Approximately 9.58 AU
Orbital Period – Approximately 29.46 Earth years
Diameter – Approximately 116,464 kilometers
Surface Temperature – Again, difficult to define due to lack of solid surface; outer atmosphere temperature varies.


Distance from Sun – Approximately 19.22 AU
Orbital Period – Approximately 84.02 Earth years
Diameter – Approximately 50,724 kilometers
Surface Temperature – Difficult to define, but averages around -224°C.


Distance from Sun – Approximately 30.05 AU
Orbital Period – Approximately 164.79 Earth years
Diameter – Approximately 49,244 kilometers
Surface Temperature – Averaging around -214°C.

Task 2: Orbital Math

In this task, you’ll delve into the fascinating world of orbital math. Learn about Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and Newton’s law of universal gravitation, which govern the motion of planets around the sun. Discover how these mathematical principles help scientists predict the orbits of planets and other celestial objects. Your mission is to calculate the orbital periods of the planets using Kepler’s third law, which relates the orbital period of a planet to its distance from the sun. Use your math skills to solve equations and determine how long it takes each planet to complete one orbit around the sun.

An orbit of a planet refers to the curved path or trajectory that a planet follows as it revolves around its parent star, such as the Sun in our solar system. Governed by gravitational forces, the orbit of a planet is typically elliptical, meaning it has a slightly elongated shape with the star located at one of the two foci. This path is determined by a delicate balance between the planet’s velocity and the gravitational pull exerted by the central star. As the planet moves along its orbit, it experiences periodic changes in its distance from the star, resulting in variations in its orbital speed. Understanding orbits is fundamental to celestial mechanics, as they dictate the motion of planets, moons, and other celestial bodies in the universe, contributing to our comprehension of planetary dynamics and the structure of solar systems.

Mercury: Approximately 88 Earth days
Venus: Approximately 225 Earth days
Earth: Approximately 365.25 Earth days (1 year)
Mars: Approximately 687 Earth days
Jupiter: Approximately 4,333 Earth days (about 11.86 Earth years)
Saturn: Approximately 10,759 Earth days (about 29.46 Earth years)
Uranus: Approximately 30,687 Earth days (about 84.02 Earth years)
Neptune: Approximately 60,190 Earth days (about 164.79 Earth years)

Task 3: Geometry of the Planets

Get ready to explore the geometry of the planets in our solar system! In this task, you’ll investigate the shapes and sizes of the planets, as well as their distances from the sun. Learn about the concept of diameter, which measures the distance across a planet through its center. Use your knowledge of geometry to calculate the diameters of the planets and compare them to each other. Then, explore the concept of circumference, which measures the distance around a planet’s surface. Calculate the circumferences of the planets and discover how they vary based on their sizes and distances from the sun.

The geometry of the planets within our solar system encompasses various aspects of their orbits, sizes, shapes, and spatial relationships. The orbits of planets around the Sun are generally elliptical, with the Sun located at one of the two foci. Each planet follows its distinct elliptical path, determined by the balance between its orbital velocity and the gravitational pull exerted by the Sun. Additionally, the planets vary greatly in size, with rocky terrestrial planets closer to the Sun (e.g., Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) and gas giants farther away (e.g., Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune). These differences in size contribute to the diverse compositions and structures observed among the planets. Moreover, the axial tilts and rotations of planets result in variations in their seasons, climates, and surface features, further adding to the rich tapestry of planetary geometry within our solar system.

Task 4: Math Challenges on Other Celestial Bodies

As you continue your exploration of the solar system, you’ll encounter math challenges on other celestial bodies. Visit the moon, Mars, and other planets’ moons to solve a variety of mathematical puzzles and problems. Calculate the surface areas of craters on the moon, estimate the distances between Martian landmarks, and determine the volumes of lava tubes on Venus. Use your problem-solving skills and mathematical knowledge to overcome these challenges and unlock the secrets of these extraterrestrial worlds.

Task 5: Planetary Math Games

In the final task of your Math Planet Exploration, it’s time to have some fun with planetary math games! Play interactive games and activities that reinforce the concepts you’ve learned throughout your journey. Test your knowledge of the planets with quizzes and trivia challenges, solve puzzles to uncover hidden messages about space exploration, and engage in virtual simulations to experience the thrill of rocket launches and planetary landings. Compete against your friends or work together as a team to conquer the math challenges and become true Math Planet Explorers!


Congratulations, young explorers, on completing the Math Planet Exploration! By delving into the mathematical mysteries of our solar system, you’ve expanded your understanding of mathematics and its applications in space exploration. As you continue your journey through the cosmos, remember to keep exploring, questioning, and seeking answers to the mathematical wonders that surround us. Whether you’re counting planets, calculating orbits, or solving geometry puzzles, let your curiosity guide you as you unravel the mysteries of math in our vast and wondrous universe. Safe travels, and may your passion for math continue to soar to new heights!