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The Solar System

Natural Sciences, Grade(s) K-5

Students will
Demonstrate an understanding that there are objects other than our
Sun and the planets in our solar system;
Identify the eight planets of our solar system,
Identify and describe characteristics of each planet.
Identify and describe characteristics of a comet.

Smart board
Document camera
Poster board, 1 per student group
Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
Tape or glue
Pencils and erasers
Encyclopedias, science texts, magazines, and other print resources
Photos and images of the planets within the solar system
Computers with Internet access
Tablets and other mobile devices (optional)

1. Talk about the night sky. What kinds of objects do we see in
the night sky? What kinds of things exist in our galaxy? In our solar
system? Have the class watch Learning About the Planets in out Solar
system ( YouTube - ).
This can be done either as a class using the Smart Board, or in small
groups on individual computers.
After watching the program, review the information students learned
about the objects in our galaxy and solar system. What kinds of objects
orbit the Sun or the planets? What are the smaller celestial bodies found in
space? Ask students to talk about some of the facts or information they
know or have learned from the video. To enhance what the children have
gained from the video, teachers could use a document camera such as
Elmo, in order to point out some interesting facts or images surrounding
our solar system from various print sources.

2. Divide the class into 8 groups and tell them that they are
going to be making presentations (in the form of an Animoto video with
adult assistance) for the rest of the class. Allocate each group a different
planet within our solar system to research for their presentations (this
could be done by printing Q.R. codes onto paper and hiding them around
the classroom then let each group search until they find one code, which
they then scan with a smart phone in order to discover which planet they
will be presenting on). The presentations need to address the following
What is the celestial object researched?
What does this celestial object look like?
How big or small can this celestial object be?
Where is this celestial object in respect to the sun and the
other planets within our solar system?
How far away is the celestial object from the nearest other
3. Each group is to also make a poster with drawings and/or
printed cut-out or photocopied images of the celestial object they are
researching. Each poster must include some interesting facts about the
object in a visible spot on the poster. The posters should be colorful and
4. Finally, each individual member of the group is to create a
Voki character that will talk about what they found most interesting about
the planet they researched.
Discuss ways the groups can divide up the presentation tasks.
For example, perhaps one person in a group could be the interesting fact
researcher, another person could find the images, and two more students
could collaborate to create the Animoto video itself. Allow groups to divide
their tasks however they see fit but make sure that all students are
participating in some way with both the Internet research and the poster.
Research can be done on computers, tablets of other mobile devices if
available. Give students time in class to research their presentations and
make their posters. Students may use encyclopedias, astronomy texts,
magazines, and other print sources to research their reports.
Once students have finished their research, have each group
post their Animoto videos and Vokis to a class website. Then, either allow
the children to access the class website individually or in groups to view
their own work and the work of their peers (alternatively, this can be done
as a class using the Smart Board to display each groups work).
After the presentations are finished, review what students now
know about the smaller celestial bodies in our solar system. What were

some interesting facts they discovered while researching their reports?

What are some interesting things they learned from other group
Display the group posters in the classroom so that student may
examine them in detail at their own leisure.

Follow up games
To help encourage remembering the order of the planets within the solar
system, a simple game could be played using the Q.R. codes which have
already ben printed. The codes could be given to 8 students (with a ninth
code created for the sun). Then these students are then placed in a line
at the front of the class and mixed up so that they do not know which
planet they are holding. Another student, using a smart phone or other
device, then scans each code and calls out the name of the planet they
have scanned. When he/she finds the code with the sun, the child holding
this code is moved to the start of the line. Thereafter, he/she has to find
each planet in the correct order of the solar system, and when complete,
they call out the planets in the correct order. The cards are then given to
different students and the process begins again.

Were the students highly engaged in class discussions surrounding
the topic; did they work extremely well in their research groups; Did they
produce colorful and creative posters that identified interesting facts about
the celestial body they researched; and did they produce interesting and
insightful Animoto videos and Vokis correctly addressed the set criteria.

Solar system
Definition: The sun together with the nine planets and all other celestial
bodies that orbit the sun.
Definition: The path of a celestial body or an artificial satellite as it revolves
around another body.


National Academy of Sciences

The National Science Education Standards provide guidelines for teaching
science as well as a coherent vision of what it means to be scientifically
literate for students in grades K-12. To view the standards, visit this Web
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
Earth and Space Science: Objects in the sky; Changes in earth and
sky; Earth in the solar system
Physical Science: Properties of objects and materials
Nature of scientific knowledge
National Council for the Social Studies
The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has developed
national standards to provide guidelines for teaching social studies. To
view the standards online, go
This lesson plan addresses the following strands:
Science, Technology, and Society