Earth and Space Science

Solar System with preschoolers

This month I am working on the solar system with my little preschoolers in my field placement. The solar system is such an abstract concept for younger children and I would like to know how do I make it less intimidating? Do I teach every aspect or focus on just one (i.e stars, planets, earth, sun, moon, etc). 

Brianna Parker
Brianna Parker
235 Activity Points

Hello Brianna -

You could approach the lesson on what makes Earth a great place to live, comparing Earth to the other planets in terms of water, a breathable atmosphere, plants making food, and comfortable temperatures. Earth is a place where everything is just right for life - in the Goldilocks zone. Here you could tie in some ELA with Goldilocks and the Three Bears - the source of the name "Goldilocks Zone" for the habitable zone around a star where conditions are suited to life as we know it.

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

Hi Brianna,

I'm a preservice teacher and havent worked as much wiht littles, I'm more of a middle school educator. But I do know that the solar system is intimidating no matter what age you are. I liked the idea another user said of using the gym to put out a scale model of the planets. I also know that it should be fairly basic for such a young age. So I would say start with planets and the sun and possibly the moon because they are one students should know some about. And talking about how the sun helps us live on earth. Then maybe transfer into the stars if you have time, kind of just focusing on how they are super far away. Have students make drawings of stars, then put them in with the solar systemin the gym idea. Just scale down the solar system to be pretty small and show that the stars the students made are super far away. This can help put it into perspective. But I wouldn't go very indepth, and start with what they are familiar with. 

Shelby Betz
Shelby Betz
2355 Activity Points

Hi Brianna!  First, I taught them the "My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Me Nine Pizzas" then took away the Pizzas.  Then we did a scale model of the solar system on the gym floor.  I had some pictures of the planets with a description on each.  Here's a calculator http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/

Then, I taught the kids how to make a paper airplane to show aerodynamics.  This was their "rocket."  They took turns to see how far their rocket would go.  When it landed, I had them read the description of the planet.  It wasn't too long before they knew Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.  Then we talked about the story behind Pluto and took it away.

jj

James Johnson
James Johnson
95308 Activity Points

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