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Solar System Unit

Table of Contents



Daniel Berry
Summer of 1999


Statement of need

Goals

Concepts

Content Outline

Special Vocabulary

Room Environment

Learning Centers

Overview of Activities

Block Plan

Lesson Plans

Evaluation

Teacher’s Plan for a Follow-up Unit

Resource Bibliography
 
 



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Statement of Need







The purpose of this unit is to study Astronomy and how the Cosmos effects our lives down here on the Earth. The grade level is for the fourth grade, but it can be modified to work with any grade level from 3rd through 12th, by adding more or less of the subject matter to the lessons and by including more or fewer abstract ideas.

When most people think of astronomy, they think of distant stars and other distant objects. This Unit plan is to reshape and redefine these thoughts and make the Cosmos a more familiar place by showing how the planets have Earth-like features. I wish to make what was thought as distant, near.

This Unit is also done to give students an opportunity to be motivated in the area of science! To achieve this, I plan to make these lesson plans meaningful and significant in their lives. To do this, I will allow my students to use their talents in creative writing, art, Net’-Surfing, and mathematics.

Most importantly, this unit plan will show children that the concepts in Astronomy are really felt all around us. For example, gravity, air, and water are things, which exist here on Earth and on most of the other planets within this solar system.




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Goals
    1. The students will be able to identify all of the planets from either a planetary wide photograph or a description of that planet.
    2. The students will be able to list the features unique to each planet.
    3. The students will be able to make a list of the ideas of other cultures’ views of the cosmos.
    4. The students will be able to demonstrate that they know each of the planets atmospheric properties through an examination.
    5. The students will be able to list the ways in which the Earth is different from the other planets found within the inner solar system.
    6. The students will be able to label the planets on a solar system chart.
    7. The students will expand on their writing skills through the written assignments.
    8. The students will gain Internet research skills by gathering information related to specific topics and compiling this information into an organized paper.



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Concepts



 
 
 

  1. The solar system is composed of nine planets, each with unique features on the surfaces.
  2. The atmospheres of the planets determine many of the characteristics of the planets.
  3. The distance which each planet orbits the Sun determines many of the characteristics of the planets.
  4. The planet Earth shares many characteristics with some of the other planets.
  5. The solar system is divided into two large areas. One is the inner solar system that is an area from the surface of the Sun to the Asteroid Belt. The other area is the other solar system, which begins at the Asteroid Belt and extends to beyond the orbit of Pluto.
  6. America has a rich history in the field of space



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Content Outline
  1. Introduction to the Solar System
    1. History of the planets’ discovery
    2. Astronomy legends found in other cultures
    3. Classification system used for planets
    1. Rocky planets
    2. Gaseous planets
    3. Frozen planets
    1. Some characteristics which all planets share
  1. Introduction to the inner solar system
    1. Mercury
    1. Mercury’s characteristics
    1. Surface characteristics
    2. Atmospheric characteristics
    3. Orbital characteristics
    4. Legends about this planet from other cultures
    1. Venus
    1. Venus’ characteristics
    1. Surface characteristics
    2. Atmospheric characteristics
    3. Orbital characteristics
    1. Earth
    1. Earth’s characteristics
    1. Surface characteristics
    2. Atmospheric characteristics
    3. Orbital characteristics
    1. Mars
    1. Mars’ characteristics
    1. Surface characteristics
    2. Atmospheric characteristics
    3. Orbital characteristics
    4. Legends about this planet from other cultures
  1. Introduction to the outer solar system
    1. Jupiter
    1. Jupiter’s characteristics
    1. Surface characteristics
    2. Atmospheric characteristics
    3. Orbital characteristics
    1. Saturn
    1. Saturn’s characteristics
    1. Surface characteristics
    2. Atmospheric characteristics
    3. Orbital characteristics
    1. Uranus
    1. Uranus’ characteristics
    1. Surface characteristics
    2. Atmospheric characteristics
    3. Orbital characteristics
    1. Neptune
    1. Neptune’s characteristics
    1. Surface characteristics
    2. Atmospheric characteristics
    3. Orbital characteristics
    1. Pluto
    1. Pluto’s characteristics
    1. Surface characteristics
    2. Atmospheric characteristics
    3. Orbital characteristics
  1. Solar System Games
    1. PC games
    2. Board games
  1. The similarities and differences of the nine planets
    1. How are the inner planets similar, yet different?
    2. How are the outer planets similar, yet different?
    3. Which planets are in a one-of-a-kind category?
    4. How are the legends from different cultures different?
  1. Conclusion of Unit
    1. What have we learned about our solar system?



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Special Vocabulary



 
 
 

Galileo Galilei 1564-1642

Cassini, Giovanni Domenico 1625-1712

Percival Lowell 1855-1916

Carl Sagan 1934-1996

Atmosphere

Carbon Dioxide

Nitrogen

Oxygen

  Hydrogen

Methane

Iron Oxide

Solar Radiation

Mercury

Venus

Earth

Mars

Asteroid Belt

Jupiter

Fragment Rings

Saturn

Uranus

Neptune

Pluto

Comets


Application

These words will be applied to Word Walls, Words Maps, Words Posters, and Word Sorts as the student encounter them in their reading and lesson plans.




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Room Environment






In all of my teaching units, my classroom will be well lit and have the student’s desks arranged in the traditional row pattern. In the front of the room, there is an overhead projector, white marker board, and a colour television unit.

During the teaching of this Unit, my classroom will have two large posters of the solar system. One of these posters will show the orbits of the planets to the scale of the planets. In this case the planets would be too small to see. This poster will help allow the students see just how full of empty space the solar system really is. The second large poster will display the planets to scare with each other. This poster will help the students see just how small Earth is compared to the gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn. Along the front wall of the classroom, there will be posters of the greatest astronomers of all time. These will include Galileo Galilei, Cassini, Giovanni Domenico, Percival Lowell, and my favorite Carl Sagan. These posters are here to put faces on the names that we will be studying. Along the sides of the room, there will be pictures of the planets taken from space probes. These will include some Galileo spacecraft photos of Venus, "Viking" shots of Mars, "Voyager" shots of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and a few Hubble telescope shots of Pluto.

There will be globes of Mars and Earth to display their differences and similarities in surface features, size, and axis tilt.

Within the bookcases, along the sides, and on top of the tables, there will be a collection of solar system and astronomy books for this age group. There will also be at least one Internet PC to allow the students to do more research over the World Wide Web.
 
 


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Learning Centers
 
 

Solar System Computer Center

At this learning center, the children will be able to play a multitude of Solar System focused games and Solar System programs. These programs include, "Solar System," "World View," "Space View," and "Journey through the Solar System."


 
 

Writer’s workshop Publishing Centers

At this center, the students will work on typing in their stories and publishing their work for other to read it. They will be using Microsoft office, Word 97/98 to do their publishing. With these tools in hand, the students will be able to work quickly and efficiently


 
 

Imaginative Center

At this center, the students will be asked to draw and name new inventive creatures (aliens) and name them in such a way as to help describe the way the creature looks or lives.

For example, "The Hooray Bubble Clouds, who love to float like bubbles in the clouds of Jupiter."


 
 

Library Center

The library center is one that is not in the main school’s library, but in the classroom. There, the students will have access to many Solar System books. They will be asked to record their reading in the Reading logs stored there.


 
 
 
 

Vocabulary Center

In this center the students will use the computer’s powerful dictionary to look up new words and use these novel words in meaningful sentences. This center is next to the "Word Wall" to allow students to work with words that they may not know.


 
 


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Overview of Activities
Week one
Initiating Activities

 There will be five different learning centers in the room.  These areas will have labels to help students when the class is divided to work at these centers.  There will be a Solar System Computer center, a Writer's workshop Publishing center, an imagination center, a library center, and a vocabulary center.  Each of these centers will also have other solar system displays such as, solar system models, mobiles, globes, and planetary maps.   Various planetary books will be placed around the room.  These books will be read during the student's DEAR time.
Day #1
 The students will be introduced to the solar system unit by seeing the astronomers who have discovered the planets and many of the other objects within the solar system.  This will then turn into a discussion of what everyone already knows about the solar system and what he or she wish to learn.
 I will introduce the book, "The Stars" to the class by asking them open-ended questions about the cosmos and then I will read the book with them.  To show that the study of the stars is not just in a few cultures, I will read the book, "Arrow in the Sun."  This book shows the students how Native Americans saw the night sky.  My goal in this first day is to stir interests in the study of the solar system, so after these first two reading, I will start a class discussion on everyone's ideas about space, space travel, planets, and their moons.
 

Materials:
1) Solar System Map.
2) People in Astronomy chart.
3) Books: "Arrow in the Sun" and "The Solar System."
4) The NASA video "The Solar System."
5) Lesson plan - "brainstorming ideas"
6)  Permission slips for the field trip need to be sent home for parents' signature.
 

Developing Activities
Day #2
Activities:
 The students will learn about the planet Mercury and it's characteristics.  The students will also add to their stories and move into the drafting stage of their writing.

Materials:
1) The books: "Magic School  Bus, Mercury" and "The Planet Mercury."
2) The NASA video "The Planet Mercury.
3) Lesson plan - "Drafting your story."
4) Planet Comparison chart lesson.
Day #3
Activities:
 The students will learn about the planet Venus and it's characteristics.  They will also add to their stories and move into the revising stage of their writing.
 

Materials:
1) The books: "Magic School Bus, Venus" and "The Planet Venus."
2)  The NASA video "The Planet Venus.

Day #4
Activities:
 The students will learn about the planet Earth and it's characteristics.  The students will also add to their stories and move into the drafting stage of their writing.

Materials:
1) The books: "Magic School  Bus, Earth" and "The Planet Earth."
2) The NASA video "The Planet Earth.
3) Lesson plan - "Revising your story."
4) Reminder- reserve a bus for the third week field trip.
Day #5
Activities:
 The students will learn about the planet Mars and it's characteristics.  The students will also add to their stories and move into the drafting stage of their writing.

Materials:
1) The books: "Magic School  Bus, Mercury" and "The Planet Mercury."
2) The NASA video "The Planet Mercury.
3) Lesson plan - "Revising your story."
4) Permission slips for the field trip need to have been turned in to the teacher.

Week Two
Day #6
Activities:
 The students will learn about the planet Jupiter and it's characteristics.  The students will also add to their stories and move into the editing stage of their writing.

Materials:
1) The books: "Magic School  Bus, Jupiter" and "The Planet Jupiter."
2) The NASA video "The Planet Jupiter.
3) Lesson plan - "Editing your story."
Day #7
Activities:
 The students will learn about the planet Saturn and it's characteristics.  The students will also add to their stories and move into the publishing stage of their writing.

Materials:
1) The books: "Magic School  Bus, Saturn" and "The Planet Saturn."
2) The NASA video "The Planet Saturn.
3) Lesson plan - "Publishing your story."
Day #8
Activities:
 The students will learn about the planet Uranus and it's characteristics.  The students will also add to their stories and move into the publishing stage of their writing. The students who are already done can move to other learning centers or share their stories

Materials:
1) The books: "Magic School  Bus, Uranus" and "The Planet Uranus."
2) The NASA video "The Planet Uranus.

Day #9
Activities:
 The students will learn about the planet Neptune and it's characteristics.  The students will also add to their stories and move into the publishing stage of their writing. The students who are already done can move to other learning centers or share their stories.

Materials:
1) The books: "Magic School  Bus, Neptune" and "The Planet Neptune."
2)   The NASA video "The Planet Neptune.
 
 
 

Day #10
Activities:
 The students will learn about the planet Pluto and it's characteristics.  The students will also add to their stories and move into the publishing stage of their writing. The students who are already done can move to other learning centers or share their stories.

Materials:
1) The books: "Magic School  Bus, Pluto" and "The Planet Pluto."
2)   The NASA video "The Planet Pluto.
3)    Reminder- ALL Permission slips need to have been turned in by Monday.
 

Week Three
Day #11
Wrap up:
 The students will review and discuss what they have just learned in this Solar System unit.  More time will be given for students to work in the learning centers around the room. The students who are already done can move to other learning centers or share their stories or read more books from the library.

Materials:
1) Review Lesson on famous Astronomers.
2) Test one will be given.
3) Permission slips for field trip need to be counted.
 

Day #12
Wrap up:
 The students will discuss the similarities and differences of the inner planets.  There will be time given to those who still need to publish their work (type it into the computer) and share their stories.

Materials:
1)   Planet Comparison chart lesson.

Day #13
Wrap up:
 The students will discuss the similarities and differences of the outer planets.  There will be time given to those who still need to publish their work (type it into the computer) and share their stories.

Materials:
1)   Planet Comparison chart lesson

Day #14
Field Trip:
 The students will take a trip to a local astronomy observatory or planetarium.

Materials:
1) The Permission slips for this field trip.

Day #15
Conclusion:
 The students will take the second test in this unit and turn in all work.  For those who have not shared their story, time will be given to them.

Materials:
1) Test two.
2) Pick up all of the student's work on this unit.

 The video, "The Solar System," will be shown.  This short 15 minute NASA video.  Ideals expressed in the video are the vastness of space, the role of the Sun and the planets.

Writer's Workshop:  I will present a mini lesson on Brainstorming.  The students will be helped by answering open-ended questions that will aid their imaginations in coming up with ideas for their stories.

Closure:  The students will share their brainstorming ideas with their partners.  After this activity they will add their ideas and the books that they have read to their reading logs.
 
 

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Solar System Unit

Block Plan 

(Week ONE)

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30 –  Introduction of the Solar system with a discussion of what we know now

Shared Reading of the book, The Stars.

R, L, T

Introduction of the planet Mercury

Shared Reading of the book, Magic School Bus, Planet Mercury

R, L, T

Introduction of the planet Venus

Shared Reading of the book, Magic School Bus, Planet Venus.

R, L, T

Introduction of the planet Earth

Shared Reading of the book, , Magic School Bus, Planet Earth

R, L, T

introduction of the planet Mars.

Shared Reading of the book, Magic School Bus, Planet Mars.
 
 



R, L, T

Shared reading of Arrow in the Sun.

R

Shared reading ofPlanet Mercury.

R

Shared reading of Planet Venus

R

Shared reading of , Planet Venus

R

Shared reading of , Planet Mars

R

Discussion of what you wish to learn about the solar system

L, T

Discussion of what you learned about Mercury

L, T

Discussion of what you learned about Venus

L, T

Discussion of what you learned about the Earth

L, T

Discussion of what you learned about Mars

L, T

To 10:00 AM Video: The Solar System (15 min)

V

Video: Mercury 

(15 min)

V

Video: Venus

(15 min)

V

Video: Earth

(15 min)

V

Video: Mars

(15 min)

V

10:00 – 10:15 AM Recess Recess Recess Recess Recess
10:15 - Choral Reading: Solar System

R

Choral Reading: Planet Mercury

R

Choral Reading: Planet Venus

R

Choral Reading: Planet Earth

R

Choral Reading: Planet Mars

R

Grand Conversation

L, T

Grand Conversation

L, T

Grand Conversation

L, T

Grand Conversation

L, T

Grand Conversation

L, T

To 11:30 AM Writer’s Workshop- Brainstorming

R, W.

Writer’s Workshop- drafting

R, W

Writer’s Workshop- drafting

R, W

Writer’s Workshop-revising

Dictionary lesson

R, W

Writer’s Workshop-revising or

Writer’s Workshop-editing

R, W

11:30 –

12:15 PM

Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
Week Two
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30 –  Introduction of the planet Jupiter

Shared Reading of the book, Magic School Bus, Planet Jupiter

R, L, T

Introduction of the planet Saturn

Shared Reading of the book, Magic School Bus, Planet Saturn

R, L, T

Introduction of the planet Uranus

Shared Reading of the book, Magic School Bus, Planet Uranus.

R, L, T

Introduction of the planet Neptune

Shared Reading of the book, , Magic School Bus, Planet Neptune

R, L, T

Introduction of the planet Pluto.

Shared Reading of the book, Magic School Bus, Planet Pluto.

R, L, T

Shared reading of Planet Jupiter.

R

Shared reading of

Planet Saturn.

R

Shared reading of Planet Uranus

R

Shared reading of , Planet Neptune

R

Shared reading of , Planet Pluto.

R

Discussion of what you wish to learn about Jupiter

L, T

Discussion of what you learned about Saturn

L, T

Discussion of what you learned about Uranus

L, T

Discussion of what you learned about the Neptune

L, T

Discussion of what you learned about Pluto

L, T

To 10:00 AM Video: Jupiter

(15 min)

V

Video: Saturn

(15 min)

V

Video: Uranus

(15 min)

V

Video: Neptune

(15 min)

V

Video: Pluto

(15 min)

V

10:00 – 10:15 AM Recess Recess Recess Recess Recess
10:15 - Choral Reading: Jupiter

R

Choral Reading: Planet Saturn

R

Choral Reading: Planet Uranus

R

Choral Reading: Planet Neptune

R

Choral Reading: Planet Pluto

R

Grand Conversation

L, T

Grand Conversation

L, T

Grand Conversation

L, T

Grand Conversation

L, T

Grand Conversation

L, T

To 11:30 AM Writer’s Workshop

Publishing

R, W.

Writer’s Workshop

R, W

Writer’s Workshop

R, W

Writer’s Workshop

R, W

Writer’s Workshop

R, W

11:30 –

12:15 PM

Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
Week Three
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30 –  Solar system wrap up week. Review famous astronomers 

After this the students will go to different centers.

R, L, T

Solar system wrap up week. Review inner planets
 
 




R, L, T

Solar system wrap up week. Review outer planets
 
 




R, L, T

Astronomy Field Trip Day. Summary and conclusion.
 
 

All of the workshop stages are turned in. The typed story is also turned in.
 
 

R, L, T

"Learning centers" Solar System PC Game Center lesson.

R, L, T

Discussion of how the inner planets are different/similar.

R, L, T

Discussion of how the outer planets are different/similar.

R, L, T

Day Trip to the S. F. Planetarium in Golden Gate Park Last day to share a story
Solar system Board Games.

R, L, T, 

Learning centers.
 
 

R, L, T

Learning centers.
 
 

R, L, T

Test two is given.
To 10:00 AM Students share their solar system stories

R, T

Students share their solar system stories

R, T

Students share their solar system stories

R, L, T

10:00 – 10:15 AM Recess Recess Recess
10:15 - Students share their solar system stories

R, T

Students share their solar system stories

R, L, T

DEAR time

Independent reading

R

Test one is given

W

Grand Conversation

L, T

Grand Conversation

L, T

To 11:30 AM Writer’s Workshop, Cont. Publishing or DEAR time. R, W, T

R, W.

Students share their solar system stories

R, W, T

Students share their solar system stories

R, L, T

11:30 –

12:15 PM

Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch

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Lesson Plans

Alter the reading to fit your students' reading levels

Lesson for Day One






Lesson: Introduction of the Solar System Unit

Student Materials: The books, "The Stars" and "Arrow to the Sun," also the solar system map, the people in Astronomy poster, the NASA video, "Solar System," and the permission slips for the field trip (3rd week).

Teacher Materials: The books, , "The Stars" and "Arrow to the Sun," also the solar system map, the people in Astronomy poster, the NASA video, "Solar System," and the permission slips for the field trip (3rd week) and the brainstorming lesson.

Objectives:

  1. After the lesson the students will be able to make a list of the planets found in the solar system.
  2. The students will be able to make a list of the most important people in Astronomy (who you find).
  3. The students will be able to make at least five to ten ideas from the brainstorming lesson.

  4.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Set:

    I will introduce the unit by asking opened ended questions such as, "Have you ever wondered about other planets or life from outer space," "What if there is life out there, would it change the way you looked up at the night sky," " How have the planets changed over time," " Do you ever wonder about travel to the other planets?"

    Input:

    I will introduce the solar system unit by having a shared reading of the book, "Arrow to the Sun." A discussion and a video will follow this reading.

    Modeling:

    I will show the map of the solar system on the front wall of the classroom and explain the order and name of each planet. As I pass by each planet I will label it or I will ask the students to label the map with stick ups. In this introduction, I will allow the students to discover to names of the planets and I will only facilitate their learning by showing them where they can find the names (books, internet, science magazines, etc.)

    Information to share with students:

    The Moslem- Al Mamon, founded the first school of Astronomy in Baghdad (AD 810)

    The Moslem- Al-Sufi, made the first recorded star map and star catalogue (AD 900)

    The Chinese and Native Americans- Recorded the supernova in Taurus (AD 1000)

    The Polish- Copernicus, published his books about the structure of the solar system in the 1540s.

    The Danish- Tycho Brahe, founded the first astronomy report station in 1550.

    The Italian- Galileo, made the first telescope for use in the field of astronomy (telescopes were in use before this) 1600.

    The American- Percival Lowell, founded Mars Hill in Arizona to observe Mars in the 1890s.

    The New Yorkian- Carl Sagan, teaches children and adults the wonders of the Cosmos (1950s to 1990s)
     
     

    Find more people in the field of Astronomy by searching the web!
     
     

    Guided Practice:

    .The students and I will discuss what they think about the solar system and how it has changed over time. How has astronomy changed over time? We will read the book "Arrow to the Sun," as a shared reading activity." The first part of the brainstorming activity will be done as a group, but then will turn into an independent activity

    Independent Practice:

    The student will write their own ideas for the brainstorming activity and choose the Native American or other culture Astronomy computer book, which they wish to read. The students will also fill out their reading and activity logs informing the teacher of the books and activities that they were involved in.

    Check for understanding:

    I will determine if the students understand the information by the question that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their brainstorming activity.

    Closure:

    After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their brainstorming ideas to the class. In their reading logs, they will add the activities and books they read today (more can still be added later).

    Evaluation:

    I will compare the individual ideas to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion.

    Mini-Lesson

    Brainstorming

    Lesson: Writer's workshop, brainstorming

    Student Materials: pencils and paper

    Teacher Materials: Whiteboard and the word wall.

    Objectives:

  5. After the introduction lesson the students will be able to make a list of at least five ideas, without concern of grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

  6.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Set:1

    I will introduce the brainstorming lesson as follows:

    When writers start writing a story they first think about things to write about. This is called brainstorming. Sometimes groups of people brainstorm together to come up with many ideas. Lets start brainstorming by telling me some of your ideas that we can write about! (students respond, while I dictate.) Now lets do the same thing, but you will write your ideas down. Don't worry about spelling. I just wish to see as many ideas as I can.

    Input:

    I will introduce the brainstorming lesson to the students.

    Modeling:

    I will model how brainstorming is done and then allow the class to help me, then the students will take it from there.

    Guided Practice:

    The students and I will come up with ideas on what to write about.

    Independent Practice:

    The students will write down their own ideas.

    Check for understanding:

    I will determine if the students understand the information by the questions that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their work.

    Closure:

    After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their ideas to the class.

    Evaluation:

    I will compare the individual ideas to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion
     
     


    Lesson for Day Two






    Lesson: Introduction of the planet Mercury

    Student Materials: The books, "Magic School Bus, Mercury" and "Planet Mercury," and the paper, pens for the drafting workshop.

    Teacher Materials: The books, "Magic School Bus, Mercury" and "Planet Mercury," also the Solar System map, the NASA video, "The Planet Mercury," the drafting lesson.

    Objectives:

  7. After the lesson the students will be able to make a list of the characteristics of the planet Mercury.
  8. The students will be able to describe at least two of these characteristics.
  9. The students will be able to make at least five to ten sentences to go along with their brainstorming ideas from yesterday activity.

  10.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Set:

    I will introduce the planet Mercury by asking opened ended questions such as, "What do you think it would be like to be on Mercury, the closest planet to the sun?"

    Input:

    I will introduce the planet by having a shared reading of the book, "Magic school bus, Mercury." A discussion and a video will follow this reading.

    Modeling:

    I will refer to the map of the solar system on the front wall of the classroom and explain the planet’s characteristics in more detail. As I name each of the planet’s characteristics in turn, I will label it.

    Guided Practice:

    .The students and I will discuss what they think about the planet Mercury and how it might be like to be there. We will read the book "The magic School bus, Mercury as a shared reading activity." The first part of the drafting activity will be done as a group, but then will turn into an independent activity

    Independent Practice:

    The student will write their own sentences for the drafting activity and choose the Native American or other culture Astronomy computer book, which they wish to read. The students will also fill out their reading and activity logs informing the teacher of the books and activities that they were involved in.

    Check for understanding:

    I will determine if the students understand the information by the question that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their activity.

    Closure:

    After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their sentences to the class. In their reading logs, they will add the activities and books they read today (more can still be added later).

    Evaluation:

    I will compare the individual sentences to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion.

    Mini-Lesson (to be used when needed)

    Drafting

    Lesson: Writer's workshop, Drafting

    Student Materials: pencils and paper

    Teacher Materials: Whiteboard and the word wall.

    Objectives:

  11. After the introduction lesson the students will be able to make a list of at least five sentences with little concern of grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

  12.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Set:1

    I will introduce the drafting lesson as follows:

    When writers have brainstormed many ideas, they are ready to put these ideas into some sort of order. Sometimes, authors will look at their ideas and arrange them in such a way as to give the ideas more meaning. For example, think back at what you did today. Let us say that you woke up, ate and went to school. You could begin to write sentences on what you saw or what you said to your friends. Lets start drafting our brainstorming ideas by putting them into sentences. I would then ask the students to tell the class some of their sentences.(students respond, while I dictate.) Now let us do the same thing, but you will write your sentences down. Don't worry too much about spelling. I just wish to see as many sentences as you can write.

    Input:

    I will introduce the drafting lesson to the students.

    Modeling:

    I will model how drafting is done and then allow the class to help me, then the students will take it from there.

    Guided Practice:

    The students and I will come up with complete sentences on their ideas.

    Independent Practice:

    The students will write down their own sentences, giving aide where needed.

    Check for understanding:

    I will determine if the students understand the information by the questions that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their work.

    Closure:

    After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their sentences to the class.

    Evaluation:

    I will compare the individual sentences to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion.
     
     


    Lesson for Day Three






    Lesson: Introduction of the planet Venus

    Student Materials: The books, "Magic School Bus, Venus" and "Planet Venus," and the paper, pens for the drafting workshop.

    Teacher Materials: The books, "Magic School Bus, Venus" and "Planet Venus," also the Solar System map, the NASA video, "The Planet Venus," the Dictionary lesson.

    Objectives:

  13. After the lesson the students will be able to make a list of the characteristics of the planet Venus.
  14. The students will be able to describe at least two of these characteristics.
  15. The students will be able to make at least five sentences to go along with their brainstorming ideas from the activity done on Monday

  16.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Set:1

    I will introduce the planet Venus by asking open ended questions such as, "What do you think it would be like to be on Venus, the planet with a thick Carbon Dioxide atmosphere?"

    Input:

    I will introduce the planet by having a shared reading of the book, "Magic school bus, Venus." A discussion and a video will follow this reading.

    Modeling:

    I will refer to the map of the solar system on the front wall of the classroom and explain the planet’s characteristics in more detail. As I name each of the planet’s characteristics in turn, I will label it.

    Guided Practice:

    The students and I will discuss what they think about the planet Venus and how it might be like to be there. We will read the book "The magic School bus, Venus as a shared reading activity." The first part of the drafting activity will be done as a group, but then will turn into an independent activity.

    Independent Practice:

    The student will write their own sentences for the drafting activity and choose the Native American or other culture Astronomy computer book, which they wish to read. The students will also fill out their reading and activity logs informing the teacher of the books and activities that they were involved in.

    Check for understanding:

    I will determine if the students understand the information by the question that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their activity.

    Closure:

    After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their sentences to the class. In their reading logs, they will add the activities and books they read today (more can still be added later).

    Evaluation:

    I will compare the individual sentences to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion.

    Mini-Lesson for

    Dictionary lesson

    Lesson: Using a dictionary and the dictionary in Word 98

    Student Materials: pencils and paper, dictionary, and a PC or Mac withword 98

    Teacher Materials: Whiteboard and the word wall.

    Objectives:

  17. After the introduction lesson the students will be able to check their sentences from the drafting session for meaning errors.

  18.  

     
     
     
     
     

    Set:1

    I will introduce the revising lesson as follows:

    When writers have put many of their ideas into sentences, they may re-read their work to make sure that it makes sense and that the idea that they were thinking about is on paper. Let us now look at our sentences and see where improvements can be made. I walk around the class while the sentences respond.

    Input:

    I will introduce the revising lesson to the students.

    Modeling:

    I will model how revising is done and then allow the class to help me, then the students will take it from there.

    Guided Practice:

    The students and I will come up with complete sentences on their ideas.

    Independent Practice:

    The students will write down their own sentences, giving aide where needed.

    Check for understanding:

    I will determine if the students understand the information by the questions that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their work.

    Closure:

    After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their revised sentences to the class.

    Evaluation:

    I will compare the individual sentences to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion.

    Mini-Lesson

    Editing lesson

    Lesson: Editing the story

    Student Materials: pencils and paper, dictionary, and a PC or Mac with word 98

    Teacher Materials: Whiteboard , a dictionary, and the word wall.

    Objectives:

  19. After this lesson the students will be able to check their sentences from the revision session for spelling, punctuation errors, and key in their stories into the computer.
Set:

I will introduce this lesson as follows:
 
 

Writers edit their work to make their stories more enjoyable and meaningful by reading and re-reading the work story. In this stage, the editing stage, writers try to weed out as many misspellings as possible as well as using the correct tense and punctuation. Please take turns and read your stories to the person next to you and listen to your reading to hear if it ‘sounds’ right. Input:

I will introduce the editing lesson to the students.

Modeling:

I will model how to listen to my words and see if they sound ‘right.’ I will allow the class to help me, then the students will take it from there.

Guided Practice:

The students and I practice listening to sample sentences to see if they sound correct.

Independent Practice:

The students will change the words that do not sound right in their sentences.

Check for understanding:

I will determine if the students understand the information by the questions that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their work.

Closure:

After the students have put away their pens, they will each tell the class the words that they found and changed.

Evaluation:

I will compare the individual words to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion.
 
 




Lesson for Day Four

Lesson: Introduction of the planet Earth

Student Materials: The books, "Magic School Bus, Earth" and "Planet Earth," and the paper, pens for the drafting workshop.

Teacher Materials: The books, "Magic School Bus, Earth" and "Planet Earth," also the Solar System map, the NASA video, "The Planet Earth," the revising lesson.

Objectives:

  1. After the lesson the students will be able to make a list of the characteristics of the planet Earth.
  2. The students will be able to describe at least two of these characteristics.
  3. The students will be able to make at least 20 sentences to go along with their ideas from the writing activities done on during the past few days.
Set:1

I will introduce the planet Earth by asking open ended questions such as, "What do you think it would be like to be on Earth, if you were an alien from a different solar system?"

Input:

I will introduce the planet by having a shared reading of the book, "Magic school bus, Earth." A discussion and a video will follow this reading.

Modeling:

I will refer to the map of the solar system on the front wall of the classroom and explain the planet’s characteristics in more detail. As I name each of the planet’s characteristics in turn, I will label it.

Guided Practice:

The students and I will discuss what they think about the planet Earth and how it might be like to be there. We will read the book "The magic School bus, Earth as a shared reading activity." The first part of the drafting activity will be done as a group, but then will turn into an independent activity.

Independent Practice:

The student will write their own sentences for the drafting activity and choose the Native American or other culture Astronomy computer book, which they wish to read. The students will also fill out their reading and activity logs informing the teacher of the books and activities that they were involved in.

Check for understanding:

I will determine if the students understand the information by the question that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their brainstorming activity.

Closure:

After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their stories to the class. In their reading logs, they will add the activities and books they read today (more can still be added later).

Evaluation:

I will compare the individual sentences to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion.

Lesson for Day Five

Lesson: Introduction of the planet Mars

Student Materials: The books, "Magic School Bus, Mars" and "Planet Mars," and the paper, pens for the writing workshop, the Mars explorers’ map.

Teacher Materials: The books, "Magic School Bus, Mars" and "Planet Mars," also the Solar System map, the NASA video, "The Planet Mars," the revising lesson, The Mars Explorers’ plan.

Objectives:

  1. After the lesson the students will be able to make a list of the characteristics of the planet Mars.
  2. The students will be able to describe at least two of these characteristics.
  3. The students will be able to make at least 20 sentences to go along with their ideas from the writing activities done on during the past few days.
  4. The students will be able to design a Mars explorers’ map.
Set:1

I will introduce the planet Mars by asking open ended questions such as, "What do you think it would be like to be on Mars, the planet with a cold, thin Carbon Dioxide atmosphere?"

Input:

I will introduce the planet by having a shared reading of the book, "Magic school bus, Mars." A discussion and a video will follow this reading.

Modeling:

I will refer to the map of the solar system on the front wall of the classroom and explain the planet’s characteristics in more detail. As I name each of the planet’s characteristics in turn, I will label it.

Guided Practice:

The students and I will discuss what they think about the planet Mars and how it might be like to be there. We will read the book "The magic School bus, Mars as a shared reading activity." The first part of the writing activity will be done as a group, but then will turn into an independent activity. In the Mars Explorers’ lesson, the students will

Independent Practice:

The student will write their own sentences for the revising activity and choose the Native American or other culture Astronomy computer book, which they wish to read. The students will also fill out their reading and activity logs informing the teacher of the books and activities that they were involved in.

Check for understanding:

I will determine if the students understand the information by the question that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their writing activity.

Closure:

After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their stories ideas to the class. In their reading logs, they will add the activities and books they read today (more can still be added later).

Evaluation:

I will compare the individual sentences to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the

Mini-Lesson "Kernel"

Lesson: Mars explorers’ Map

Student Materials: The Mars explorers’ map.

Teacher Materials: The Map of the planet Mars, The Mars Explorers’ plan, along with a student’s copy of the map and the publishing lesson, if needed.

Objectives:

  1. The students will be able to design a Mars Explorers’ map linking a main landing site, a supply site, a water source area, and a oxygen source area.

  2.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Set:1

    I will introduce the Mars explorers’ map with the story that follows:

    You have been chosen to be the first astronauts to travel to the red planet Mars! This mission will launch from Earth and fly to Mars and will only take six weeks to make the trip. The spacecraft will approach Mars and release the supply pod to the landing site. Then you will land the landing pod close by.

    The Problem: You can not control the supply pod once it leaves the spacecraft, so it may land ANYWHERE within the landing site. YOU must find a landing site that is within 50 Km (one inch on the map) of the Supply Pod and within 100 Km (two inches on the map) of a water and oxygen source area. Rules, You cannot land in a hilly area. You can build a path to the supply pod that is only 50 Km or one inch long on the map. You can build two paths to water and oxygen areas of up to 100 Km in length or 50 Km in length if the path goes through a mountain area.

    After you have made your paths, you and your crew will stay on Mars for the entire mission of one year!

    Input:

    I will introduce the Mars Map and story to the students.

    Modeling:

    I will refer to the map of the landing site and give the rules for making paths. I will label it on the board to make it easier for the students.

    Guided Practice:

    The students and I will discuss possible landing sites with my copy (different then the one they have) and find a path way to the pod.

    Independent Practice:

    The students will make their own paths and landing sits with the maps supplied.

    Check for understanding:

    I will determine if the students understand the information by the question that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their mapping activity.

    Closure:

    After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their path ideas to the class.

    Evaluation:

    I will compare the individual paths to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the

    Mini-Lesson

    Publishing lesson

    Lesson: Publishing the story

    Student Materials: pencils and paper, dictionary, their written stories, and a PC or Mac with word 98.

    Teacher Materials: A whiteboard, a dictionary, and the word wall.

    Objectives:

  3. After this lesson the students will be able to publish their stories by using the computer.

  4.  

     
     
     
     
     

    Set:

    I will introduce this lesson as follows:

    Today is Friday, the last day of the week and we will be completing the last step in the writing process, publishing. This is the step by which writers present their work to the larger society.

    Input:

    I will introduce the publishing lesson to the students.

    Modeling:

    I will model how to key in a story and print it. I will allow the class to help me, then the students will take it from there.

    Guided Practice:

    The students and I practice using the editing and publishing abilities of the computer.

    Independent Practice:

    The students will publish their stories and/or read them to the class.

    Check for understanding:

    I will determine if the students understand the information by the questions that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their work.

    Closure:

    After the students have put away their pens, they will each tell the class their completed stories.

    Evaluation:

    I will compare the individual words to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion

    The other lessons and mini lessons follow the same form as the one above

    Lesson for Day Eleven

    Lesson: Wrap up of the Solar system Unit

    Student Materials: Paper, pens for the writing workshop, their writing log.

    Teacher Materials: All of the Learning Centers need to be active. Permission slips must be in by today. People in Astronomy review lesson.

    Objectives:

  5. The students will be able to make a list of at least six people who were important in the area of astronomy.
  6. The students will be able to describe at least three other culture’s views of the night sky (past or present).
Set:1

I will introduce the wrap-up lesson asking open-ended questions such as, "What have you learned about the solar system and the people involved with its study?"

Input:

I will introduce the wrap up lesson by reviewing what we discussed in the prior discussions.

Modeling:

I will refer to the map of the solar system on the front wall of the classroom review the planets as well as the people in the people chart. As I name each of the planet’s characteristics in turn, I will label it.

Guided Practice:

The students and I will discuss what they think about the solar system now and how it might be different in the near future. The first part of the writing activity will be done as a group, with everyone telling their stories, but then will turn into an independent activity as the few who have not yet published their work do so.

Independent Practice:

The students will publish their own work on the PCs for the writing activity. The students who are already done will choose the Native American or other culture Astronomy computer book, which they wish to read or go to one of the other learning centers. The students will also fill out their reading and activity logs informing the teacher of the books and activities that they were involved in.

Check for understanding:

I will determine if the students understand the information by the question that they ask. I will also be walking about the room and observing the students as they complete their writing activity.

Closure:

After the students have put away their pens, they will each give their stories to the class. In their reading logs, they will add the activities and books they read today (more can still be added later).

Evaluation:

I will compare the individual sentences to the ones discussed in class to see if the students came up with any more ideals on their own. I will also check to see if the students learned what they wanted to learn from the discussion.
 
 

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Evaluation

The evaluation for this unit is made up of a checklist, which the students can follow. Each item in the checklist is worth between 0 and 3 points depending on how well the item is completed.

Checklist:
 
Item Score (0-3) Comments
No less than eight reading logs completed.     
No less than five project logs completed.     
At least five items or ideas on the first writing workshop, "brainstorming sheet."    
At least ten sentences on the second writing workshop, "drafting sheet."    
At least 20 sentences on the "revising sheet."    
At least one typed page turned in for the published work.    
Less than 10%rrors on the punctuation of the revision.     
Less then 20% errors on spellings words that the students have had as spelling/sight words.     
Total out of 24 points    
Test Item Score  Comments
People in Astronomy

(Test One)

(0 - 10)  
Planets test 

(Test two)

(0 - 20)  
Total out of 20 points    

 







Assignments:
 
 

  1. On Friday of each week, the students will be responsible for turning in their completed Reading Logs.

  2.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  3. On Friday of each week, the students will be responsible for turning in their completed Project Logs.
  4. After the brainstorming lesson, the students will be responsible for writing at least five items or thoughts on their brainstorming sheet.

  5.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  6. After the drafting lesson, the students will be responsible for writing at least ten sentences on their drafting sheet.

  7.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  8. After the revising lesson, the students will be responsible for writing at least 20 sentences on their first revising page.

  9.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  10. After the punctuation mini lesson, the students will be responsible for correcting at least 90% of these types of errors on their finished edited story.

  11.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  12. After the "using the dictionary as a spelling tool" mini lesson, the students will be responsible for correcting at least 75% of these types of errors on their finished edited story. Words that the students have never written or used in writing will not be counted against them, but will be corrected.

  13.  

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  14. If the students are able to type up their own story, they will be praised, but the students who only turn in a hand written manuscript will be praised also. All stages of the story will be turned in from brainstorming to the finished story.






Tests:
 
 

Test one: "People in Astronomy." This test is made up of 10 questions that ask the students to identify famous people in the field of Astronomy.
 
 

Test two: "Planets Test." This test is made of up of 20 questions that ask the students to identify different characteristics of each planet.

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Follow Up Lesson






This unit allows students to learn about the Solar System. There are now discoveries of other solar systems (fig. 1), so a good follow up unit may include these other solar systems and compare their structure to the one of our solar system. Also, a unit could be developed that focus on just one aspect of our solar system, such as minor planets, comets, or solar system evolution. How has the structure of our solar system changed in the past? Will the orbital balance change and cause the planets to find new orbits, as we see in the newly discovered solar systems?

Our Solar System is the only real-estate that humans can explorer and "touch." For this reason a unit on conservation of natural resources may also be included as part of the follow up unit. For example, a unit could be taught on making or buying reusable storage containers or other short-term products, that we normally throw away. 
 
 
 
 
 

Figure 1 Newly discovered Solar Systems
 

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Bibliography

Adler, David. The Moon,

Troll associates. N.J., 1983.

Bergamini, David. The Universe,

Time Life Books, N.J., 1982.

Berry, Daniel. The Red Planet, Mars,

Private publishing, Sacramento, 1992.

Berry, Daniel. Business in Space,

Private publishing, Sacramento, 1989.

Blackwood, Paul. The Stars,

Crosset and Dunlap, N.Y., 1980.

Jacobson, William. Living in Space,

American Book, N.Y., 1965.

Jacobson, William. The Milky Way,

American Book, N.Y., 1965.

Jacobson, William. The Moon,

American Book, N.Y., 1965.

Jacobson, William. Rockets,

American Book, N.Y., 1965.

Jacobson, William. Sun, Seasons, and Climate,

American Book, N.Y., 1965.

McGowen, Tom. Space Flight,

Checkerboard Press, N.Y., 1983.

Moche, Dinah. What is Up There,

Scholastic Books, N.Y., 1975.

Moora, Patrick. The Planets,

Waldman, N.Y., 1977.

Ruthland, Jonathan, The Planets,

Random House, N.Y., 1987.

Santrey, Laurence. Discovering the Stars,

Troll, N.J., 1982.

Sharp, Alastair. Moona Park,

Modern Curriculum, Cleveland, 1987.

Stott, Carole. Observing the Sky,

Troll, N.J., 1992.

William, Lou. A Dipper full of Stars,

Ca. State Dept. of Ed., Sacramento, 1969.
 
 

Three multicultural books

Arrow to the Sun, by G. B.

This book is about the Native American folk story of a boy who sends an arrow (himself) to the sun and discovers something about himself and the world around him. In the story the students discover the colorful native American scenery as well as a new way for looking at the cosmos.
 
 

Raven, by G.B.

This book is about a raven, who meets a beautiful girl in a dark world. This girl in turn give birth to a son, who is part raven and part human. As the son grows he discovers a box where the sun is kept. To brighten things up he holds the sun in his mouth and flies in the sky. Everyday after that, the sun has risen in the eastern skies.
 
 
 
 

Sun Flight, by G. B.

This book is about a creek duo, who find themselves at odds with the gods. But they soon discover away out of the gods’ trap and fly up into the sky. One of the duo flies too high and his wings melt away, causing him to fall to the sea below.
 
 

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Created by Daniel Berry copyright 1999


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