Science Sampler: Space moves—Adding movement to solar system lessonsby: Deborah Bainer Jenkins and Brent Heidorn

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Earth and space science figure prominently in the National Science Education Standards for levels 5–8 (NRC 1996). The Earth in the Solar System standard focuses on students’ ability to understand (1) the composition of the solar system (Earth, Moon, Sun, planets with their moons, and smaller objects like asteroids and comets) and (2) that gravitational force holds us to Earth and governs movement in the solar system. With a little creativity and thought, movement can be added to lessons addressing these abstract concepts. This article provides some examples found especially useful by students and teachers in the lower-middle-level grades.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:27 PM

Using a kinesthetic approach to learning science can be a bonus that lasts a long time. In this article the authors use motion to help student understand planetary information. An example of this might be the following statement: Jump as if you are on the surface of the Moon. These activities engage the learner physically, reinforce learning, and can be used to assess student understanding in a writing assignment. Space Olympics activities are also presented in the article. I have always felt that movement enhanced learning but I was glad to see that this was verified in brain research as well.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:48 PM

This article contains great lesson plan ideas on how to get students moving in space science. I really like how students are able to make physical connections to the content material they are learning. Great ideas for our kinesthetic learners!!

Susanne Hokkanen  (Orland Park, IL)
Susanne Hokkanen (Orland Park, IL)

  • on Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:39 PM

These are wonderful ideas for getting students moving as well as thinking about science. I am concerned about a couple of things that could lead to misconceptions in the lesson, however. While some of Saturn's rings are gaseous, others are made up of solid particles. The surface of Jupiter is liquid, so it would be difficult to "walk" or "march" there (maybe swim - and yes, I do realize that the pressure would crush a person before they got to the surface, but in the spirit of the activity, it would be nice to emphasize the liquid nature of it's surface, regardless). Other than that, I think it is a fun and interesting set of lessons and there is no reason why students couldn't get up and move!

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

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