This document provides six sequential, engaging activities to help students grow in their understanding of the planets in our solar system.
The activities included are:
SOLAR SYSTEM LEARNING CONTRACT: This is a monitoring page for each student with all six activities and a space for the teacher to put his/her initials once a student has completed the activity.
DRAWING THE PLANETS IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM: Using provided measurements (in centimeters), students use a compass and/or ruler to measure and draw each planet. They then color them and cut them out, as they will use them for the next activity. This really helps to build the students' understanding of just how different the planets are in size.
HOW FAR AWAY FROM THE SUN ARE THE PLANETS IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM: Again, the students are provided measurements (in centimeters) of the distance each planet is from the sun. They will get a long piece of paper, measure the distances from the sun, and glue down their planets from the first activity. This will help the students better understand the distance each planet is from the sun, as well as from each other. It again also reinforces the differences amongst their sizes.
PLANET RESEARCH: Students are provided a guide sheet to use when finding information about one specific planet.
PLANET POSTER: Students are provided a direction sheet to create a poster that displays the information they learned about their planet. The direction sheet also addresses guidelines for the poster.
COMPARING THE PLANETS GALLERY WALK: Once the students have researched their planet and created their posters, the posters can be displayed around the room. Included is a Gallery Walk Guide Sheet that students can use to walk around the room and fill out information on each planet, giving them access to the information about all the planets, versus just the one they researched. (This is one of their favorite activities!)
EXPLORING OUR EARTH WEBQUEST: There are two different guide sheets for a webquest to help the students gain information about our Earth. One guide sheet (A) directs students to information that is at a lower-reading level. The second guide sheet (B) directs students to information that is at a grade-level reading level. Both guide sheets take the students to the same website; however, (A) helps students who struggle with reading gain a little more independence with doing this activity. The guide sheets look similar, making it difficult for students to tell the difference between them.
The six activities come with Teacher Checkpoints embedded within the directions to help you monitor your students' progress.
Additionally, there is a Teacher Information page for each activity that lists materials you will need and/or any suggestions I may have for completing the activities.
My own students have completed each of the activities and truly were engaged throughout the lesson sequence!