Round and Round We Go — Exploring Orbits in the Solar System

This Round and Round We Go — Exploring Orbits in the Solar System lesson plan also includes:

Math and science come together in this cross-curricular astronomy lesson plan on planetary motion. Starting off with a hands-on activity that engages the class in exploring the geometry of circles and ellipses, this lesson plan then challenges them to to work collaboratively creating scale drawings of the solar system. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Use this lesson to teach about planetary motion during an upper-elementary or middle school astronomy unit on the solar system
  • Have the class practice drawing ellipses on small white boards, helping to save paper and allowing them to easily correct their mistakes
Classroom Considerations

  • Depending on the age and abilities of your class, you may need to adjust how much you teach your students about the geometry of ellipses
  • The time of this lesson and the included activities can be easily adjusted to fit your own class schedule
Pros

  • Extensive background information is provided regarding planetary motion and the geometry of ellipses
  • Offers suggestions for extending learning and creating cross-curricular connections
  • Includes ideas for differentiating the lesson to meet the needs of all learners
  • Answer keys are provided for each of the three student worksheets
Cons

  • None