Lesson Plan

Earth and the Solar System - Developed with the Northside Tech Ninjas PLN

Build science vocabulary and learn about Earth's place in the Solar System.
Michelle W.
Technology coordinator
James Wadsworth STEM Elementary
Chicago, United States
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My Grades 5, 6, 7, 8

Students will be able to…

Define "orbit" and illustrate Earth's orbit.
Describe gravity and gravitational pull.
Learn using mulitple medias/resources about one topic.
Relate what is learned about the Earth to other planets and objects in the Solar System.
Create an Educreation presentation about one planet to present to the class.

English Language Arts
reading comprehension
Grades K – 3
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Video presentation: If available, use Brain Pop, Jr. app or web site to show the “Solar System” video to the class, share out "what I noticed" and "questions I have,"  then add to the Solar System Word Wall together. 

If Brain Pop, Jr. is not an option: View NASA Multimedia https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/videos/03_Orbital-Mechanics_Grav...

Student Instructions

Brain Pop: Students then choose to take the Easy Quiz or Hard Quiz (Online Version) independently if they have access to their own machines, or they can do this together as a class, and raise their hand when done to show the teacher their understanding of the video (i.e. 4/5). For any remaining time, students can explore the “Solar System” activities, such as “Write About It,” “Draw About It,” “Activity,” “Belly Up,” and/or “Game.” If students have access to a printer, they can print one of the above activities.

If not Brain Pop: Create a quiz or adapt a quiz on Socrative.com (also available as app) or Quizlet.com

2 Direct Instruction

Mini lesson using "The Sun and Earth’s Orbit" Prezi by Sarah Rice on 19 February 2013 Public and Reusable  https://prezi.com/lauukm9yk4h3/1st-grade-science-the-sun-and-earths-orbit/

Read and discuss the article on newsela.com "NASA finds 3 new planets where life could exist." Guide students to identify the evidence or reasons these may be considered planets.  Compare and contrast these characteristics with Earth on a venn diagram using an interactive whiteboard or chart paper

Student Instructions

Work with a partner to create a concept map or graphic organizer using Kidspiration or Popplet to show what elements or qualities make a planet.  

3 Guided Practice

Free download but requires site-based subscription

Direct students to practice their space vocabulary: Spelling City Space Science Earth 1st grade word lists 1-3 http://www.spellingcity.com/first-grade-science-vocabulary.html 

Demonstrate for students how to navigate through Brittanica Kids: solar system. Highlight the videos and games that reinforce what they are learning.  Students may explore with a partner or independently.

Student Instructions

Complete Word Work: Spelling City Space Science Earth 1st grade word lists 1-3 http://www.spellingcity.com/first-grade-science-vocabulary.html

Explore your own interests and prepare to choose a focus for your own presentations. 

4 Independent Practice

Partners/small groups will choose a planet to explore further and take notes on. Facilitate learning by asking probing/guiding questions. If teacher assistant or volunteer available, they will also help keep students focused and support beginning readers. 

Student Instructions

Each pair or small group should find at least five interesting facts about their planet.  One required element will be how long it takes the planet to orbit the sun. Students may use text and illustrations in their notes. 

5 Wrap-Up

Allow at least one class period for students to create their Educreation presentations about their chosen planet.  A second class period will be needed for class presentations.  

If time is limited, groups may simply present to only one other group and leave it to the teacher to review them later for assessment purposes. 

For kinder you can limit this to one page and illustration while for third grade you may choose to have them add pictures from the photo library on several pages.

Student Instructions

Using Educreations, students will draw their planet in relation to the other planets in the Solar System.  They will then record themselves "teaching" about their chosen planet.  

Depending on the grade level, this activity can be adjusted.  Kindergarten may simply draw and label the planet and record their facts while 2nd and 3rd may add an additional page that shows all the  planets in their order from the Sun.