Education Technology

Earth Science: What Makes a Planet

by Texas Instruments - Simulation Lesson


  • Students will investigate and differentiate between planets, moons, and asteroids.
  • Students will understand how planets are classified.


  • orbital radius
  • astronomical unit
  • asteroid
  • orbital zone
  • planet
  • moon
  • gravity

About the Lesson

In this lesson, students will use a simulation to explore differences between planets, moons, and asteroids.

As a result, students will:

  • Understand that in order to classify an object as a planet, it must be in orbit around the Sun, have sufficient mass to assume a nearly round shape under its own gravity, and have a clear orbital zone free of any other objects.
  • Examine characteristics of celestial bodies such as diameter, orbital radius, presence of atmosphere, and orbital path. 

This activity was created using Lua. Learn more about Lua in TI-Nspire here.