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Olivier Guyon, professor of optical science and astronomy, explains how scientists are searching for other planets that can support life. Viewers learn the odds of finding a habitable planet, how long it would take, and some techniques developed in order to increase the odds. Where this resource does not fit traditionally taught topics, it could be used as an introduction to space exploration or a springboard for discussing why humans invest so much time and money to studying the cosmos.
Students use the website Kerpoof to examine the planets. In this solar system lesson, students classify the planets by characteristics, discover new "space vocabulary", and what the planets are made of. Students use KWL charts to organize their information and write a creative story that tells what it would be like to live on one of the planets. This lesson includes adaptations, mulitple activity ideas, clipart, worksheets and online resources.
Fourth graders research the planets and create brochures to share their information. In this planets lesson, 4th graders navigate the Internet to gather information for a brochure about an imaginary trip to their planet. Students complete their brochures using Microsoft Publisher.
A wonderfully designed, and very thorough lesson plan on the planets in our solar system. Designed for third graders, this instructional activity has learners use technology and multimedia tools to research, explore, and create information about the solar system. The class is transformed into a 10-station learning center where children explore the solar system, and end up creating a book about the planets and a brochure that focuses on a planet of their choice. Terrific!
Introduce your young meteorologists to black carbon produced by the burning of fossil fuels by showing the video, "Changing Planet: Black Carbon." Viewers discover that deposition of this carbon on polar ice impacts the absorption of sunlight and increases heat in the atmosphere. Learners then simulate this phenomenon in a lab activity comparing the heat produced on paper samples containing increasing amounts of black dots. This is a timely and telling investigation to include in your earth science curriculum.
Your class will use a set scale to convert diameters of planets to the model size, the diagram given to expand on the number of planets drawn as concentric circles, and examine the scale that would be needed to fit the larger planets on a page. The out-of-this-world activity is can be used to examine the planets, math scales, and ratios. You could expand on this with astronomy topics, but the worksheet also goes on to practice more scales used in the area of blueprints and architecture
Begin by showing a six-minute video, Changing Planet: Rising Sea Level as an anticipatory set. Pupils draw a topographic map of a potato continent. Finally, they will visit NOAA's sea levels online map and NASA's carbon dioxide concentration, arctic sea ice, and global surface temperature data. This outstanding lesson plan awakens earth science learners to the relationships among climate change, rising sea levels, and impact on coastal communities. Links to other related activities are included.
Show the six-minute video, "Changing Planet: Fading Corals," and then demonstrate how calcium carbonate forms a precipitate in the presence of carbon dioxide. Separate your scientists into small groups to gather information about coral communities and introduce them to the real life date found in ReefGIS. As a result of their research and exploration, each group presents a status report of an individual coral reef in a classroom "Coral Reef Roundtable" discussion. This is a revealing resource to use when your class is studying climate change, coral reefs, or marine ecosystems.
Each member of a four-student group takes on a specific aspect of an assigned planet to research. After gathering information, the team works together to create a travel brochure and a presentation intended to convince other classmates to visit their assigned planet. The instructions are given to the group via the Internet, making this a web-based lesson. A pre-test is provided, as well as an assessment rubric. Though it is written as an 8th grade lesson, it can easily be incorporated into your elementary curriculum.
Let's continue the fun with art and literacy in Part Two of the two-part lesson on symbolism and the story, The Little Prince. The class continues their discussion of symbolism in literature and art, as they paint the paper mache world they've created. They use polymer clay to sculpt an inhabitant for their planet, and then write an additional chapter for The Little Prince which includes a visit to the planet they have created. Note: See Additional Materials for a link to the first part of the lesson.
Explore the world's beauty with Jean Marzollo's colorful book I Am Planet Earth, the context of a vocabulary study focused on the following in-text words: globe, jungle, paddy, planet, and valley. Discuss the text briefly and introduce the words before reading it aloud. Kids listen for the focus words and context clues, practicing active listening skills. These words each have a set of comprehension questions to help scholars connect word meaning to familiar concepts. Check out the graphic organizers; they aren't just for struggling readers!
Students examine the possible ways to recycle, reuse, and re-imagine products and objects in order to reduce pollution and waste on our planet. In this 100 things you can do to save the planet lesson, students take three actions to create a Green Corps Kiosk. Students then go fishing in a fish pond of recyclable items and choose an item to make something new out it, giving the item a second life.
Extraterrestrial life? What makes life possible? What makes a habitable planet? These are the questions explored through this video. Some of the concepts presented include the essentiality of water for life and how its liquid form is not easily found in the universe. The size of a planet, the presence of an atmosphere, and the distance from its star combine to allow for liquid water. Perhaps you could use this resource as a fun enhancement when teaching a space unit.
The story The Little Prince is used as inspiration for a paper mache project and an insightful discussion. The class reviews the planets the Little Prince visited, and the observations he made on his travels. Then they create a paper mache planet that is decorated with symbolic references to childhood and growing up. Note: This is part one of a two part instructional activity. See Additional Materials section fo the link to Part Two.