|The Solar System|
The center for the Solar System unit is an activities based learning center that could be kept up during the whole unit. It allows students to explore the solar system and test their knowledge. The design of the center is simple and user-friendly. The black background of the tri-fold helps the students imagine the planets in space. The pictures of planets posted on the board draws the students’ attention to the various planets they will be learning about. There is a mobile suspended over the tri-fold; the mobile is as accurate as possible to size and color of the planets.
The area around the tri-fold is clear, giving the students room to work. There are trade books scattered around for students to browse through. Ideally, there would also be a laptop set up so students can access the websites listed on the tri-fold.
The learning center contains a host of activities that can be used at any point in the unit. Starting on the right side of the tri-fold and moving towards the left, the activities are as follows:
Activity 1: Planet Activity
The right side of the tri-fold is filled with pouches that contain worksheets about each individual planets. The student’s job is to fill in the blanks in the worksheets and color the planets. The students are supposed to fill out a worksheet for each planet. The last pouch on the right side houses the answer key so students can check their work. The planet coloring pages and worksheets can be found at: SS_Beg_new247.pdf
These worksheets do not have fill in the blanks
on them. However, you can delete some of the
information and replace it with a blank to make
it a fill in the blank worksheet.
Activity 2: Compare and Contrast
In the middle of the tri-fold, students are directed to the computer lab to check out two websites and complete a compare and contrast study of the planets, sun, moon and earth. Specifically, students are told to compare and contrast the size and mass of the planets to each other. Students could also compare and contrast what the planets are made up of, appearance, temperature and livability.
Students must also compare at least one planet’s mass to the sun to figure out how many of that specific planet it would take to equal the sun’s mass. For example, how many earths would it take to equal the sun’s mass?
Students record their compare and contrast study in their science journals
In the middle of the tri-fold, students are given the directions to look through the trade books present or in the classroom and find five interesting facts about the solar system they never knew. Students can record what they learned in their science journals.
Activity 4: Weight in Space
This activity is a math based activity. The purpose of this activity is for students to figure out how much they would weigh on different planets. All the planets are listed as well as their gravitational factor compared to the earth. Students have to find their weigh in pounds and then multiple that number by a gravitational factor. For example, the gravitational factor of Saturn is 1.08. If you weighed 120 lbs., you would weigh 129.6 on Saturn.
The crossword is composed of random facts about the planets that students may or may not already know. The student’s job is to fill out the crossword, using trade books if necessary to find answers. The answer key is on the back of the crossword so students can check their work right away. The crossword is linked here.
List of Trade Books
Simon, S. (1992). Our Solar System. New York: Morrow Junior Books
Kelsie Van Beek