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Saturn's Brilliant Rings

Students rocket into space while creating a compelling dimensional picture of the planet Saturn and its fascinating rings.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest in the solar system, is the only planet with beautiful gas rings surrounding it. Guide students through an investigation into this fascinating celestial body beginning with student-developed questions. Post these queries on a classroom white board using Crayola Dry Erase Markers.
    2. Once students have researched questions, invite them to create a visual of the planet using Crayola's Color Explosion paper and markers. Guide students through the drawing of a circle with a diameter of about 3 inches (7.6 cm) on the back of Crayola Color Explosion™ paper with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils. Demonstrate how to flatten the circle slightly on the bottom edge so that it will look like the rings are in front of the planet. Students cut out the planet with Crayola Scissors. Draw another circle slightly larger than the first, flatten the bottom, and cut it out.
    3. On both planets, encourage children to create interesting textures by using the Color Explosion color-reveal marker to draw sketchy lines following the circular shape. Insert a small circle of foam core between the planets. Attach the smaller one to the larger one with a Crayola Glue Stick. Glue another piece of foam core to the back.
    4. Set planet cut-outs near the top center of a full sheet of Color Explosion paper. Use the color-reveal marker to trace around the larger one.
    5. To create the planet's rings, provide students with white construction paper. Have them make patterns for the rings by drawing two concentric, partial rings with tapered ends as shown in the picture. Rings should be wide enough to fit around planet models. Students cut out their patterned rings. Trace them on the background with color-reveal markers. Suggest that students can make the rings look realistic by drawing thin lines inside each band to follow the ring shape.
    6. Have students trace ring patterns on another sheet of Color Explosion paper. Decorate and cut them out. Small pieces of foam can be attached to the back of the rings. Then glue rings to the background on top of the ones initially drawn. This will provide pictures with dimension. Saturn and its rings pop out at you!
    7. If Color Explosion products are not available, construction paper and Crayola Construction Paper Crayons can be substituted for this lesson plan.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information 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, 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: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: 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; National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes; National Geographic Readers: Planets by Elizabeth Carney; Saturn by Seymour Simon; Saturn (True Books: Space) by Elaine Landau

    Working in small groups, students conduct an in-depth investigation into a selected planet in the solar system. Organize research into a well-written format and create a 3-D model of the planet using Crayola Model Magic. Display both the research summary and model together with other groups' models to create the solar system.

    Expand research to the sun, dwarf planets, stars, meteors, and other bodies found in the solar system. Organize research into electronic format for presentation to classmates.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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