Planets Beyond

Planets Beyond lesson plan

Shapes go up in space when creating a solar system of squares, circles, triangles, and more.

  • 1.

    Review the names and characteristics of geometric shapes. On pictures or models of the solar system, ask students to locate Earth, the sun, and other planets. Discuss the movement of planets around the sun, as well as the concepts of atmosphere, gravity, and orbit.

  • 2.

    Invite students to research how Galileo Galilei (who was born on February 15, 1564) helped prove Copernicus's theory that planets revolve around our sun. How did this learning change the way people thought about and viewed their world?

  • 3.

    Ask students to use their imaginations to create their idea of a solar system. Students begin by covering their work areas with recycled newspaper. On white paper with Crayola® Washable Markers, students design an imaginary solar system drawing geometric shapes as the planets, stars, and spaceships.

  • 4.

    Color in the planets with Crayola Washable Markers. Students dip a paint brush in water, then blend the marker colors together, creating a watercolor effect. Dry flat.

  • 5.

    Add outlines and details to planets, stars, and spaceships with markers.

  • 6.

    Students display their imaginary solar systems in the classroom. Provide time for students to share their imaginary solar systems with classmates.

Standards

  • LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • LA: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • MATH: Reason with shapes and their attributes.
  • SCI: Obtain and communicate information about the sizes of stars, including the sun, and their distances from Earth to explain their apparent brightness.
  • SCI: Provide evidence that Earth is spherical and the gravitational force of the Earth causes objects near the surface to be pulled toward the planet’s center.
  • SCI: Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the roles of science and technology in the design process for developing and refining devices to understand the universe.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.
  • VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes; What do you see? Our Solar System by Carme Sevenster; A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations--and How You Can Find Them in the Sky by Michael Driscoll
  • Students work in teams of two to create an interplanetary mobile. Planets can be drawn on recycled cardboard, cut out, and painted. Each planet should be labeled with its name. Additional information can be included such as the diameter of the planet, atmospheric gases, possible life on the planet, etc.
  • Students create a 2-D planet. Use Crayola Model Magic to design inhabitants, plants, and other structures such as landforms. Crayola Fine Tip Markers can define details on the planet's surface.
  • Research famous astronomers. What discoveries are attributed to the selected astronomer? How did these discoveries add to human knowledge about the universe?
  • Students investigate the NASA space program. Research the history of the agency, its goals, and accomplishments as well as its failures. Organize an electronic presentation for classmates.