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Objectives:

  • The students will learn about the size of each planet.

  • The students will learn about the size of the Sun.

  • The students will be able to order the planets from smallest to largest (in diameter).

  • The students will be able to explain what a scaled model is.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Think about the planets. Which planet do you think is the largest?

  • Which planet do you think is the smallest?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • What do you know about the size of each planet?

Common Core State Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.4

Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

**Can use pictures, but realia (real-life objects) works better for this demonstration**

  • Sun: Three large umbrellas opened up: two laying sideways and one on top in the middle.

  • Planet Labels

  • Mercury: Peppercorn

  • Venus: Cherry Tomato

  • Earth: Cherry Tomato 

  • Mars: Blueberry

  • Jupiter: Watermelon

  • Saturn: Large Grapefruit

  • Uranus: Apple

  • Neptune: Lime

  • Pluto: Sugar in the Raw

  • **Take a few small crystals out**

Demonstration Adapted from this image by Avi Soloman on flickr

**When the unit is over, download the final assessment for all of the lessons on space for free.

**Here's the answer key.**

Size and Scale of the Planets and Sun

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Input:
What is the most important content in this lesson?
To reach this lesson’s objective, students need to understand:

  • The size of each planet.

  • The size of the Sun.

  • The largest through the smallest planet in the Solar System.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • Prior to the start of the lesson, the teacher will set up the materials for the “Food and Planets” demonstration. The teacher should keep all of the food together. The Sun picture should be in the center and the planet labels should be around the Sun, leaving enough room for the food to be placed above the label.

 

  • The teacher should begin class by having the students complete the worksheet “Order the Planets.” The worksheet will list all of the planets without their diameter. The students will guess the order of the planets from largest to smallest. The teacher should allow the students about 5 minutes to complete the worksheet. After the students are done, the teacher will not review the worksheet. Instead, the students will set their worksheets aside and the teacher will begin the “Food and Planets” demonstration. The teacher should gather the students around the table. On the table, there will be the labels (one for each planet). The teacher should review the names of the planets with the students. The teacher should show the students the different food. Going in order, the teacher will say the name of the planet and place the correct food by its label. After all of the food has been placed, the teacher should begin a discussion about the different sizes. The students should observe that Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System and Pluto is the smallest planet.  The students should also observe that Venus and Earth are similar in size. The teacher should allow for student comments/observations/questions.

Food & Planets

  • Sun: Three large umbrellas opened up: two laying sideways and one on top in the middle.

  • Mercury: Peppercorn

  • Venus: Cherry Tomato

  • Earth: Cherry Tomato 

  • Mars: Blueberry

  • Jupiter: Watermelon

  • Saturn: Large Grapefruit

  • Uranus: Apple

  • Neptune: Lime

  • Pluto: Sugar in the Raw

  • After the demonstration is done, the teacher will begin presenting the information on the Solar System. If it is possible, project each page of the teacher’s copy of the “All About the Solar System” Science Journal worksheet onto the board using a projector or put into a PowerPoint document and project.  The teacher’s copy of the journal has certain words/phrases that are bolded red and highlighted. It is important the teacher explain to the students those words/phrases are to be highlighted in their (students) journal. For this lesson, the teacher should review these pages:

  • Page 61: How Big is Each Planet?

** This page reviews the actual diameter (in kilometers) and scaled diameter of each planet. In addition, the food item that represents each planet is also included. It is important that the teacher explain why the scaled diameter is included:**

  • After the information has been presented, the students will create a “Comparing Planet Sizes”. Each student will get a piece of yellow poster board, “Planet” pictures, and nine labels. The students can use their science journals to complete this activity. The students will cut out each planet and glue them onto their paper (in the correct order). Then, the students will write the name of each planet, the actual diameter, and the scaled diameter on a label and stick them under the appropriate planet. Allow the students about 15 minutes to complete the activity.  

 

  • For the closure, the teacher should return to the “Order the Planets” activity. By now, the students should know the correct order of the planets from largest to smallest; they should be able to fix any mistakes that were made initially.

Time/Application
3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

  • Introductory Activity: “Order the Planets”

  • Demonstration: “Food and Planets”

  • Discussion: Science Journal (Page 61)

  • Activity: “Comparing Planet Sizes”

  • Discussion of Activity

20 minutes

Introductory Activity: “Order the Planets” | Demonstration: “Food and Planets”

  • Give each student an “Order the Planets” worksheet.

  • Instruct the students to order the planets from largest to smallest.

  • Once all of the students have completed the worksheet, instruct them to set the worksheet aside.

  • Invite the students to stand around the table where you have set up the “Food and Planets” materials.

  • Begin the demonstration- comparing the planet sizes to the various food objects you have on the table.

  • After the foods have been matched up to their appropriate planet, begin a conversation about the planet sizes.

10 Minutes

How Big is Each Planet

  • Instruct the students to open to page 61 in their science journals.

  • Project each page of the science journal onto the board either through a projector or PowerPoint presentation.

  • The teacher copy has bolded red and highlighted words. The students will highlight those words in their science journal.

  • Begin presenting the information. The pages that will be presented include: page 61.

15 Minutes

Activity: “Comparing Planet Sizes”

  • Instruct the students to open to page 61 in their science journal. They will use this page for the activity.

  • Each student will get a piece of yellow poster board , “Planet” pictures, and nine labels.

  • The students will cut out each planet and glue them onto their paper (in the correct order).

  • The students will write the name of each planet, the actual diameter, and the scaled diameter on a label and stick them under the appropriate planet.

  • Allow the students about 15 minutes to complete the activity.

  • Reconvene and review when the students are finished.

Closure/Assessment
10 minutes

  • For the closure, the teacher should return to the “Order the Planets” activity. By now, the students should know the correct order of the planets from largest to smallest; they should be able to fix any mistakes that were made initially.


Individualized Instruction/Scaffolding

English Language Learners will be supported in this lesson through data-based heterogeneous grouping, verbal and written repetition of new vocabulary words, and multiple representation of vocabulary words through printed images and video.