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Create a


With an asteroid on a crash course with Earth, students will be challenged with the monumental task of creating a planet that could sustain humans.  They will use Earth as their model, but will be welcome to innovate and "improve" the planetary systems that enable life.
Master & timeline

Master Plan & Timeline

Driving Question

How could humans engineer a planet that maintains its own homeostasis and can sustain human life?

Learning Objectives


  • Creativity 

  • Collaboration

  • Communication

  • Critical Thinking

  • Presentation / Public Speaking skills

  • Engineering

  • Design Process


  • EEn.1.1.1: Explain the Earth’s motion through space, including precession, nutation, the barycenter, and its path about the galaxy.

  • EEn.1.1.2: Explain how the Earth’s rotation and revolution about the Sun affect its shape and is related to seasons and tides.

  • EEn.1.1.3: Explain how the sun produces energy which is transferred to the Earth by radiation.

  • EEn.1.1.4: Explain how incoming solar energy makes life possible on Earth.

  • EEn.2.1.1: Explain how the rock cycle, plate tectonics, volcanoes, and earthquakes impact the lithosphere.

  • EEn.2.3.1: Explain how water is an energy agent (currents and heat transfer).

  • EEn.2.5.1: Summarize the structure and composition of our atmosphere.

  • EEn.2.5.2: Explain the formation of typical air masses and the weather systems that result from air mass interactions

  • EEn.2.7.2: Explain why biodiversity is important to the biosphere.

  • EEn.2.8.2: Critique conventional and sustainable agriculture and aquaculture practices in terms of their environmental impacts.


***Please note that if your group misses two Milestones, you will be given an alternative assignment.***

Entry Event

Entry Event: The Mission



In-depth research will be very necessary to create a planet effectively.  NASA has provided the following graphic organizers to help you ensure that you are investigating the appropriate questions.  Mr. Haigler will provide paper and electronic copies of these organizers for your convenience:
On your KNTK Log, write down any vocab terms about your system from this link that you don't know and look them up.

Biodomes & Mars Missions

Biodome & Mars
Students will choose from the resources below about Biosphere 2 and Mars Missions to further understand the engineering complexities that come with creating a planet.  Mr. Haigler will provide the protocols that students will use to discuss the material.


Each student team will design their own planet that can be either a terraformed planet that already exists or a self-sustaining space station.
 Each planet must meet the following criteria:
  • The capacity for supporting 10 billion people

  • Be completely livable by all organisms currently on our planet (without spacesuits) within 10 years

  • A detailed description of the atmosphere, lithosphere, astronomical placement, biosphere, and hydrosphere on your planet

  • A water cycle (or a cycle with whatever liquid you choose)

  • Weather

  • Seasons

  • An average temperature within 10 degrees of Earth's

  • Tectonic Plates

  • Oceans, lakes, and rivers

  • Biological systems that maintain each other

  • An atmosphere (of whatever gases you choose)

  • Layers


Guiding Questions:
  1. How long will it take to make your planet self-sufficient and livable without special technology?

  2. How close will you put your planet to the sun?

  3. What range must it be within to meet the criteria above?

  4. How will it rotate and wobble and how will you make it do that?

  5. What gases will you use to create an atmosphere?  Why would you choose them?  Justify each choice.

  6. What types of living things from Earth would you put there first?  Why?

  7. What liquid would you use in your hydrosphere and why would you choose it?

  8. How will you create weather?

  9. What materials might you use to create layers for your planet?

  10. How could you engineer tectonic plates?

  11. How will your biosphere contribute to homeostasis on your planet?

  12. How will all of the spheres work together to maintain homeostasis?

Final Product Artifacts
Student teams will present their planet ideas with the following required artifacts:
  • A portfolio (in a 3 ring binder) that contains: 

    • Group contract & master document

    • a cover page,  

    • every group member's research graphic organizer,

    • blueprints of your planet,

    • original illustrations of what life there may look like, and

    • the research paper (as described below).

  • A research paper that answers all the guiding questions to the left and  covers the main components of the planet you are proposing including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, astronomy, and engineering.  Each group member will write >500 words about their specialty (with at least 5 citations), then compile all the research into one report.  The final paper should be at least 3000 words and have 30 citations.

And your choice of one of the following:
  1. An animation that tours us through your planet, shows the different layers and highlights the design ideas

  2. A Minecraft version of your planet.

  3. A 3D model of your planet that shows the different layers and highlights the design ideas

FINAL PRODUCT 2: To be revealed

When each group submits their final report to NASA, they will provide next steps in a classified document.  
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