Earth and Space Science

Solar System Lesson Plan

I am a student teacher at the University if Hawaii at Manoa. For one of our requirements, we are to come up with a unit plan that we will then execute during our final semester in the classroom. I have chosen to do my unit on the Solar System for the fifth grade. Our final project is to make a replica of the solar system as an entire class with pairs of students being "experts" with one planet. Does anyone have any advise with this or has done it in their own classroom? I considered having each group do their own replica but for the sake of time and resources have decided on one as a class. Any advice or resource would be greatly appreciated. 

Quitney Price
Quitney Price
105 Activity Points

I think this would be a very interesting project and I hope it goes well. I like that your goal is for students to become experts in their given planets. It's wise decision to just make 1 replica for the class; although they will be working in pairs; in the end they would have all contributed to the replica for the class. Please let us know how it goes.

LATTECIA KIRKLAND
LATTECIA KIRKLAND
2915 Activity Points

You've probably done this lesson already, but just my 2 cents. Definitely plan for them to have enough time to research and construct their projects. I've found that them taking home the projects either results in lost materials or one student in the group doing all the work. Therefore, I set aside only a certain amount of class time for them to work and give them a timeline of when the finished project is due! Also, besides a timeline, maybe a template of information they should have prior to starting will help guide them in the right direction. With NGSS coming, there are MANY more steps you can do to make this learning more meaningful. I hope it went well! 

Ross Hirahara
Ross Hirahara
360 Activity Points

Hello there, I am actually doing my own lesson plan on the same thing and plan on making a class planetarium as well. I am planning to give my students tasks each day that will lead up to the creation of the class planetarium. Day 1, research planets in groups and create a board of information. Day 2, continue research and make a list of needed materials, sketch out a plan of how to create the planet. Day 3, begin creating the planets within groups. I hope this helps. 

Elizabeth Piet
Elizabeth Piet
300 Activity Points

When I consider a replica of the solar system with my fifth graders I immediately think of relative distances between planets. Usually by fifth grade they have made the traditional models with the planets in perfect orbits right next to each other. This, however, is a big misconception. There are multiple activities available, from using toilet paper to measurements outside to model the distance between planets and the sun. Mystery Science, an online webpage, has a really good presentation your students can view and directions for a model showing relative distance. NASA also has some good activity ideas. Your idea of pairs of students becoming "experts" is great. I do this each year. You can have them research the planet and then make an info-graphic on a large piece of chart paper. Students love to use art supplies to illustrate the planet, and will include many graphic elements they see in nonfiction! Another idea I have used to incorporate technology is a paper slide or power point presentation. Rubrics for these are important ways to set parameters. Let me know if I can provide more ideas! Space is one of my favorite units of instruction.

Tracey Williams
Tracey Williams
407 Activity Points

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