BEYOND THE CLOUDS:

Naming and Ordering the Planets

Description of Activities

These activities are designed for a first grade classroom and feature ideas for students to learn about the planets. 

1.  PREPARATION:

Students will put on their space helmets which they have previously made from a paper bag.  They will take their space travel kit which includes space food (available from educational and scientific supply stores), a paper digital watch, and whatever else they decided to pack.

2.  SET THE MOOD

Students will sing "Gonna Take a Rocket Ride" from the cassette, Journey Into Space.

3.  COUNT-DOWN:

Students will count down from 10 and shout "Blast Off!"

4.  INTRODUCTION TO THE PLANETS: 

  1. The students and teacher will gather at the Story Center, an area of the room set aside for the teacher reading of books.  The teacher will read The Sun's Family of Planets (Fowler, Allan.  Chicago:  Children's Press, 1992).  Students will become familiar with the planets, their names, appearances, and order in relation to the sun.

  2. Students will view and work a hands-on model of the solar system which demonstrates that the planets move around the earth.

5.  COMPUTER LINK-UP:

   Given a worksheet, students will visit websites to answer the questions.  Students will:

6.  Enrichment:

  1. Students will label and color large models of the planets and the sun.  Students will arrange the planets in orbits around the sun. For copies of the planets,  see "Worksheets".

  2. Students will act out revolutions of the planets.  On large butcher block paper, draw the sun and 9 orbit.  In a paper bag, place planet cut-outs with their names on them.  Each student will choose one cut-out of the planet from a paper bag and will stand with that planet on the appropriate orbit.  When nine students are in place, students should walk around the sun on the appropriate orbit.  Students can take turns being the sun.

  3. Students can read Rookie Reader story, The Sun's Family of Planets (Fowler, Allen.  Chicago:  Children's Press, 1992) for themselves.  In the Chicago area, additional copies can be easily obtained and borrowed from the Rochelle Lee Lending Library at 5051 North Clark Street.  The story can be put on the listening center for those children who cannot read.

  4. Students can learn a new song about the planets, called "The Nine Planets" from the cassette tape, Journey Into Space.
  5. Students can learn an easy way to remember the planets.  Students can memorize the sentence, "Make very easy mash. Just squash up new potatoes."  The first letter of each word stands for a planet and its particular position in relation to the sun.

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