Pluto No Longer a Planet, Teachers Restructure Lesson Plans - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Pluto No Longer a Planet, Teachers Restructure Lesson Plans

August 24, 2006 - Posted at 5:39 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- A historic move by leading astronomers Thursday in Prague.  The International Astronomical Union declared under new guidelines that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. 

The measure downsizes the solar system from nine planets to eight and is leaving teachers across the world left to restructure lesson plans.

It's national news that grabbing even the attention of sixth graders...

"They talked about how some of them knew that Pluto's orbit was not an exact like all of the others that cross Neptune's orbit and so they wondered if that affected it, so that was one of the things that did affect it," said Valley View 6th grade teacher Michael Allen.

Pluto has had planetary status since its discovery in 1930...now teachers will have to educate children about its new classification as a dwarf planet.

"I know that probably the text book companies and that sort of thing, they're going back and changing even right now what they had already done and so they are going to be dated and they are going to have to update and if children do come across that Pluto is a planet in a book, then that will be a great teaching point to go back and tell them that it was classified at one time, but now they have changed that classification," said Allen.

Under the new guidelines a lot things are going to change for both teachers and students.  The pneumonic phrase my very eager mother just served us nine pizzas also won't help students learn anymore, because pizza is no longer part of the equation.

"Education is constantly trying to keep up with our world and our society and we just have to do the best that we can do with what we have," said Allen.

Pluto also inspired the name of the Walt Disney character Pluto which was created the same year the "former" planet was discovered.

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