Modeling Used in Voyage

The Sun on opening day for Voyage in Corpus Christi, Texas. At one 10-billionth actual size, the model Sun is 5.4 inches (13.9 cm) in diameter. On this scale the Earth is 50 feet (15 m) from the Sun, and Pluto about 1/3 mile (600 m) down the street  – a comfortable 10-minute walk.

The Voyage design team put significant effort into developing pedagogical approaches that maximize the experience for visitors to a Voyage scale model Solar System exhibition; users of the grade K-12 educational materials; and the students, families, and educators participating in community-wide Journey through the Universe programming. Fundamental to Voyage’s success is the effective use of models across all aspects of the initiative.

Models are powerful tools of exploration that allow some reality of the greater world to be placed in a context that promotes conceptual understanding. A model’s success often depends critically on how well it provides a bridge to the familiar. Good science and good science education critically rely on the power of models.

There are many types of model, including a physical model, a conceptual model, and a numerical model. The Voyage experience relies heavily on these three.

The Voyage scale model Solar System is a physical model whose one to 10-billion scale was the means to address fundamental learning objectives for the visitor. The model’s accuracy goes far beyond what is immediately apparent to the visitor, and provides an exceptional breadth and depth of content to be incorporated into exhibition tours and tour brochures, and into the grade K-12 Voyage lessons, which allow a visit to the exhibition to be embedded, if desired, in a multi-week classroom unit on Solar System science and exploration.

Explore the following subpages:

Voyage‘s Use of Physical Models

Voyage‘s Use of Conceptual Models

Voyage‘s Use of Numerical Models




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