Planets Teacher Resources

Find Planets educational ideas and activities

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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 as 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 plan, 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 plan 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 instructional activity, 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.
Students identify and sequence the major events that caused Earth to develop into a habitable planet. They view videos, conduct research, participate in discussions and work in groups to determine the likelihood of other habitable worlds.
The "Planet of the Apes" is becoming a staple in many high school classrooms and provides a way to explore a variety of topics.
Learners explore reasons why people are interested in exploring other planets. After reading an article, they identify developments in the mission to Mars. Using the internet, they research the history of exploring Mars and create a timeline. They write diary entries from the perspective of a scientist.
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!
Take part in an online learning community, and win prizes by participating in Lesson Planet's first Summer Writing Challenge!
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.
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. 
Students investigate the planets in our solar system. They conduct research using a variety of resources in order for students to make cognitive connections with the demonstrations made by the teacher. Students discover how to recognize the planets in the night sky, and how planets and stars differ from each other.
Students complete an in-depth study of the known planets in the solar system. As a class, students identify the planets that are known in the universe, in the night sky. They explain the differences between planets and stars and the prograde and retrograde motion of the planets.
Students examine the concept of a solar system. In this research based lesson, students compare a star and a planet. They explain the requirements for life in a biosphere.
Students gain knowledge about earth and space science by studying the nine planets in the solar system as well as their key characteristics. In this solar system lesson, students identify the nine planets. Students work in groups to complete a planet and description matching game. Students make a chart of the planets and their descriptions. Students sing a planet song. Students write a letter about their favorite planet and construct a planet diagram.
Students, working in groups, research planets in terms of the size, temperature, number of moons, and potential for life. They use packets and worksheets as guides for their research. Students may role-play as aliens visiting their assigned planet and then describing it in an oral presentation.
In this planet Earth worksheet, students read the paragraph about the planet Earth and answer short answer questions about it. Students complete 5 questions.
Students study the moon and the planets. They create a painted, paper mache moon or planet sculpture.
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 lesson. See Additional Materials section fo the link to Part Two.
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.
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