Lesson Plan

Our Changing Understanding of the Solar System

Students will study the various models of our view of the solar system through the years. Students will begin to learn about the planets of the solar system.
Jacqueline B.
Classroom teacher
Clearfield Alliance Christian School
Clearfield, PA
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My Grades 5, 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Health & Wellness

The student will be able to provide details of four models of the solar system which reflect the scientific thought of the respective time period. The student will be able to compare and contrast among the four models of the solar system.

PA Common Core Standard:
S6.A.2.2.1: Describe ways technology extends and enhances human abilities for specific purposes (e.g., make observations of cells with a microscope and planets with a telescope).

Grades 5 - 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter

Play students the Animoto video of the planets of the solar system. Ask students what they remember from last year's studies of the planets. Formative Assessment- Listen for misconceptions and interests about what students may wish to learn more this year. Remind students of the mnemonic strategy to remember the planets.

Student Instructions

Watch the video. Recall what you learned last year when learning about the solar system. Work together to remember the mnemonic strategy to remember the planets. State things you want to learn more of this year.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Reading

Have students popcorn read selections of pages 205-212 in their Observing God’s World science textbooks. While reading, ask comprehension, analysis, and reflective questions in connection to why astronomers made changes to existing models of the solar system. Formative Assessment- Listen for misconceptions and areas where students need further support.

Student Instructions

Students will read aloud two paragraphs each, and then popcorn another student to read. Students will participate in classroom discussions, and ask questions concerning things that are unclear.

3 Guided Practice

Free to Try, Paid

Divide the students into four groups to represent Ptolemy’s, Copernicus’s, Kepler’s, and our current model of the solar system. Guide students to analyze the parts of the group’s model, reason why the astronomer made certain choice for planet position, and explain the model to the class. Help students use a whole group popple to display the information. One student from each group may type into the popple or the teacher can type into the popple. Make sure the students explain how and why they want text bubbles to be connected while creating and sharing the popple. Formative Assessment- Watch how students present the information within the popple and listen for misconceptions. Question misconceptions and allow students to answer and clear up the understanding of others.

Student Instructions

In your group, answer the following questions about the model of the solar system and show the answers in the class popple when you have all of the answers. 1. Which astronomer’s model are you studying? 2. What is at the center of the model? 3. Why is it at the center of the model? 4. How many planets are in the model? 5. How are the planets’ courses placed? 6. What does the information about the planet placement show about man’s understanding of God’s universe at that time? 7. What do you think about the model? 9. Was the astronomer accurate according to the tools and scientific trends of his time? Present your group’s findings to the rest of the class. Answer any questions they may have.

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Other — Writing

Have students write one similarity and one difference between any two models of the solar system. Students must explain why there is a similarity and difference and decide if the similarity and difference are important or minor. Use responses as formative assessments to see what students need additional, individual instruction with the concept.

Student Instructions

Pick any two models of the solar system. 1. Give a similarity between the models, explain why they share this similarity, and reason as to if the similarity is important or minor in our scientific study. 2. Give a difference between the models, explain why they share this difference, and reason as to if the difference is important or minor to our scientific study. Show the teacher your response when you are done.

5 Wrap Up

Have students who have gained mastery over the concept gather for a discussion of their comparisons and contrasts of the models. Have students who need more instruction gather around the iPad and watch the Educations lesson found at https://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/how-we-understand-our-universe/... to provide information a new way. Open the link and show the students how to review, pause, and play the video. Filter between the groups and ask challenging questions to make students think about the concept and make connections.

Student Instructions

Discussion group: Work together in your group to discuss your comparisons and contrasts of the two models. iPad group: Discuss, pause, and review parts of the lesson.