When do transits of Venus happen?

Introduction:

The students will complete a table of values and predict the dates for a transit of Venus that is visible from the Earth based on rates and patterns.

Benchmark:

Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly or is on too small a scale to observe directly, or that are too vast to be changed deliberately. Find answers to problems by substituting numerical values in simple algebraic formulas. Use tables, charts and graphs in making arguments and claims in oral and written presentations. Use computers for producing tables and graphs and for making spreadsheet calculations.

Materials:

Vocabulary:

** Orbit**

** Transit**

** Eclipse**

** Synodic Period**

** Conjecture**

** Conjunction**

Procedures:

- Introduce students to the concept of a transit through discussion of the term. Discuss the vocabulary necessary to complete the lesson.
- Provide students with a copy of the Student Worksheet and provide time to complete the calculations for problem 1. Calculator option 1 is appropriate here. The calculator option allows students to see how technology allows tedious calculations to be much easier through spreadsheet capabilities.
- Discuss the results from the table and discuss problems 2 and 3.
- Allow sufficient time for the students to calculate problems 4 through 8. Discuss the answers.
- Students complete problems 9 and 10. Calculator option 2 is appropriate here. The calculator option is designed to introduce the students to spreadsheet capabilities that allow the patterns, or lack of patterns, to be viewed using technology. Discuss the results.

Extensions:

- Students can calculate Mercury's transit. See Extension Worksheet.
- Students can calculate an Earth transit as seen from Mars.