Solar System for Young Learners
Students learn about the solar system as well as the scientific process.
- Grades: 1–2
With all the emphasis on literacy and test preparation, how can primary teachers find time for science? Here are several models and literacy-based activities to get you started on exploring the solar system with primary students. One challenge I've encountered is that there's so much information on this subject, it's hard to know where to begin. I hope these few, easy lessons will help you keep it simple.
My overall science objective for the year is to teach children to think and act like scientists. The solar system is wide open for questions, since many astronomers don't have all the answers. There are areas of genuine inquiry and intelligent, informed guesses students can make! I encourage students to refer to books, magazines, and Web sites to answer their questions about the solar system.
Here are important concepts for this unit:
- Position of the Planets and their relative sizes and distances
- Why and How Earth is Distinctive
- The Role of the Sun
- Rotation, Revolution, and Orbit
- Make several models of the solar system.
- Read books and poems and write in response to reading.
- Do beginning research with a partner and write a report together.
Lesson Plans for this Unit
Lesson 1: Making Models of the Solar System
Solar System Museum
Models of planets are displayed in hallway or on walls of gym for all to see. Students' reports are posted near the planets. Students are stationed throughout the solar system display, as invited guests - parents, other grades and classes, principal, school nurse, librarian, etc. - tour the museum. Students act as docents, talking with visitors and answering questions.