Preschoolers and the Solar System
1 The Hook: Intro to Space
Start lesson off by creating a KWL Chart (Know, Want, and Learned Chart). Ask the children to list and share everything they Know about space. Ask open-ended questions to help guide their thinking. Questions such as:
-What would happen if we traveled to outer space?
-What do you think we will see?
-What can we find in outer space?
-What do you think it is like on the moon, sun, and planets?
Follow this ask them what do they Want to learn and this goes under the W on the KWL Chart. Use this to help plan additional parts to the lesson if your children want to learn something that is not covered in this App Flow.
Leave the L part blank. At the end of the lesson you will then ask your children what they learned and then write it in.
Begin the teaching with a video from YouTube: Solar System planets Interesting Facts for Kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKKzIoJgMSQ
Explain the use of the sun. My suggestion is to let the video play through once without interruption. Then replay the lesson and pause between the video to ask questions and discuss what the children are hearing.
Decorate a paper sun. Inside the middle of the sun as the preschoolers or help them write the purpose of the sun. The purpose of the sun is to provide heat and light to earth.
2 Direct Instruction: Appreciation of the Sun
Using the website Space Racers show the students the video "Here Comes the Sun" and allow them to explain and share their thoughts about the video.
Explain to the students that Earth is the only planet to support life. Be sure to clarify that the sun is an essential part of this. Demonstrate what would happen if the earth was moved a few centimeters closer or back from the sun. Do this by asking two students for help. Ask one to hold a big yellow ball to act as the sun. Have the other hold a globe or even a green ball to represent the earth. Take this time to explain what rotation and orbit is. Be sure to tell them that the sun does not move but the planets move around the sun. Have the child with the yellow ball stand in the middle of the room. Have the child with the globe circle around the yellow ball.
If Earth moved back from the sun, Earth would freeze.
If Earth moved closer to the sun, Earth would burn.
Homework: Assign the following video to be watch at home with their family. After watching the video answer the following questions:
Video: Day and Night Explanation, Causes Science for Kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWkKSkI3gkU
-What are the children in Asia doing right now?
-What is the movement of the Earth on its axis called?
-Does the sun move around the Earth? How does it move?
-When you wake up will it be daytime or nighttime?
-When you go to school in the morning what will the children in Asia be doing?
3 Guided Practice: Big Views to Make their Minds Move (Virtual Field Trip)
Using the WordlWide Telescope allow the children to manipulate the screen to zoom in and even jump from planet to planet. Allow the students to see the planets up close and personal. Show them how each planet has different characteristics. Ask them to imagine living on each planet and make a Planet Prediction Plan. Simple create a chart of the planets and have room to write their thoughts of life on each planet.
Explain that Pluto is a planet but what we call a dwarf planet. Find Pluto on the telescope and show them the difference in size, color, and placement in the solar system.
Ask them to draw a picture of their favorite planet.
Homework: Assign the follow video: What Planet Is It? With Pluto and Dwarf Planets - The Kids' Picture Show (Fun & Educational): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAEINCu_GD0
Then using a simple planet handout, ask the families to circle the dwarf planet and give three words to explain why this planet is a dwarf planet.
4 Independent Practice: Earth is Our Only Home!
Using the Terrestrial Globe show the students their home. Show them how their Earthly home looks from space. Ask them what they think the blue color on Earth is and what the green color on Earth is.
Blue is the water. Green is the land.
Point out important characteristics that support life, such as how much of the Earth is covered in water. Point out the continents and the massive bodies of land and even the small islands. Allow them to play with it and move the Earth around.
Draw a picture to explain why Earth is important to them.
Ask the families to have an open-ended discussion with the family to help the children understand their home and make a list of ways they can help the Earth in their homes.
Download the NASA App on all devices used by the students. Allow them to explore the app and enjoy the features on the App.
Using the NASA Kids' Club allow the students to play the games on the website. One game in particular is "What Comes Next?" which is a game to teach the students A-B Patterns and predictions.
To evaluate their comprehension use the NASA Kids' Club website to allow each child to complete "Go to the Head of the Solar System" this is a game of 10 to 13 questions that test the knowledge of the child.
Ask the families to either send in their children’s' tablets or print instructions for the parents to download the NASA App to allow extension from the classroom.
Ask the families to go on to NASA Kids' Club and ask them to complete the "Go to the Head of the Solar System" and record the child's results in their homework log.