Plot the Planets

Plot the Planets lesson plan

Use Crayola® Gel Markers to add a colorful diagram to a report on the natural cycles of the solar system.

  • 1.

    Invite students to explore a variety of resources to gather information about the solar system. View models, visit a planetarium, and search school libraries and the Internet for appropriate resources.

  • 2.

    Organize students into cooperative groups. Each group is to select a specific planet for an in-depth investigation. One group may want to research the sun. Another group may want to select Pluto, even though its status has been reclassified as a dwarf planet.

  • 3.

    Students organize their group research into written reports or an electronic presentation. Included in the research should be an explanation of the selected planet's cycles and patterns.

  • 4.

    Using Crayola® Gel Markers and an index card, students prepare a name tag for each member of the group. Attach name tags using masking tape. The order of group members will be in relation to the sun. Students create a moving solar system, simulating planet rotational cycles.

  • 5.

    If so desired, students plot the planets using Crayola Crayons and Erasable Colored Pencils in a large diagram. This can assist by creating a visual to accompany students reports.

Standards

  • LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • LA: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
  • LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • 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.
  • MATH: Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units including km, m, cm, kg, g; lb, z; l, ml; hr, min, sec. Within a single system of measurement, express measurements in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit.
  • SCI: Obtain and communicate information about the sizes of stars, including the sun, and their distances from Earth to explain their apparent brightness.
  • SCI: Develop explanations for how patterns in the positions of stars and constellations can be used to navigate on Earth.
  • 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: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes; The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklyn M Branley; What do you see? Our Solar System by Carme Sevenster
  • Organize a field trip to a local planetarium. Prior to the visit, students brainstorm questions that they would like answered and topics to focus on while on the trip. After the trip, students post learning to a class blog.
  • Challenge students to create a fictional solar system. Provide large, black paper on which to draw 16 planets one in each of the 16 Crayola Crayon Colors. Use Crayola Colored Pencils to give each planet an original name. How far is each from the fictional solar system's sun? Which planets contain life as we know it? How do we know this? Which planets have vegetation? How is this vegetation able to survive?
  • Encourage students to create a tour book about our solar system. Each planet's page can include a drawing of the surface of the planet, significant facts about that planet, a drawing of a native of the planet, as well as information about life there.