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Planning for Planets
Earth and Space Science, Grade 5
Ohio Standards:
Topic: Cycles and
Patterns in the Solar
Content Statement:
The solar system
includes the sun and
all celestial bodies that
orbit the sun. Each
planet in the solar
system has unique
Come to discussions
prepared, having read
or studied required
material; explicitly
draw on that
preparation and other
information known
about the topic to
explore ideas under
Science and
Engineering Practices
-Developing and Using
Lesson Goal:
Students will recognize different characteristics about the planets,
and describe why earth is habitable. It is important that students
realize the vastness of space and the sun’s importance to
sustaining not only human life, but it’s impact on our solar
Learning Objectives or Targets:
I can describe different characteristics of planets in the solar
I can come to discussions prepared, having read or studies
required material.
Estimated Duration:
60 min.
During the pre-instructional phases, the students will have 5 minutes
to write why they believe that earth is the only planet that we have
discovered living things. In previous grades, they learn about the
moon, sun, and stars’ impact on earth and why the sky changes. They
understand earth’s atmosphere and it’s impact on life. These ideas
about their beliefs as to why earth is the only habitable planet will be
categorized, as many students may have repetitive answers. The
teacher will help the students sort the ideas into different groups. All
ideas will be submitted to the teacher, but do not have to be shared
with the class for student privacy. These answers will help guide the
teacher in tracking student understanding of earth’s relationship to the
sun, and why life is sustainable on this planet.
During the instructional phase, the students and the teacher will work
together to develop plans to inhabit different planets. The students
will be organized into different groups based on the following planets:
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Students will work as a
group to design a plan on how to make that planet able to sustain life,
being that of bacteria or human life. Students will submit these plans
as a formative assessment. The plan must answer the following: 1)
Planning for Planets
Earth and Space Science, Grade 5
What supplies will be needed to make this planet habitable for life? 2)
How will you make this planet similar to our own? 3) What impact
does the Sun have on the planet? 4) Is the plan feasible?
During the post- instructional phase, the summative assessment will
be a short presentation by each group on describing the planet, and
their plan to make it habitable. In order to be successful, the students
must describe the planets relationship to the sun; it’s relationship to
the earth, and name at least 5 specific characteristics about the planet.
The teacher will record observations and take anecdotal notes
indicating if student understanding was sufficient to the intended goal.
Instructional Procedures:
Beginning: After finishing the pre-assessment and organizing the
ideas, the students will view photos from the mars rover. They will
also read the short article on the same website: After the viewing and reading, students will
share their ideas as to why Mars may/may not be hospitable to
humans. The teacher will help guide students to realizing the
importance of water and the sun to life for humans. After the
discussion, students will be organized into teacher-selected groups by
different planets. (10 minutes)
Middle: Students will begin organizing their ideas. Each group
member will be responsible for looking up 5 major characteristics
about the planet on the website: The
characteristics will be student generated after they have completed
their research. These questions could be about the chemical makeup,
temperature, size, distance from Earth/Sun, etc. It is student-generated
because the students need to research qualities that would indicate
similarities to Earth. Students will record their ideas, and will have
time to share with group members. (25 minutes)
End: Students will design a plan as a group to make this planet
habitable. The plan must answer the following: 1) What supplies will
be needed to make this planet habitable for life? 2) How will you
make this planet similar to our own? 3) What impact does the Sun
have on the planet? 4) Is the plan feasible? Plans will be submitted as
a summative assessment. The groups will present their ideas to the
class in the form they choose including but not limited to: modeling,
written response, oral presentation, song, posteretc.
* Students may want more time to work on the presentation if they
want to incorporate technology, such as PowerPoint. Being that this
Planning for Planets
Earth and Space Science, Grade 5
lesson is based on in-class time, students may work at home or after
school. The following class day, the other groups could have 25
minutes to re-perform the instructional portion of the lesson for other
planets while the other groups work on their presentation.
(25 minutes)
This lesson could be differentiated and adapted for all students’ needs
and abilities. The adaptation could include more teacher intervention
when making the plans, more time during the research, someone
scribing for the students when there is writing to be completed, and
timers for those who struggle with keeping on task.
Those with visual needs could feel a physical model of the solar
system. The lesson is flexible in timing and supplies as it is studentoriented. Those who are gifted will not be limited to creating just one
plan. Presentation forms are also student selected in the interest of
Materials and Resources:
For teachers
Class list to record observations for summative
assessment, access to Internet, large
screen/projector to present video
For students
Access to Internet for research, pencil/paper for
taking notes, poster/markers for possible
presentation form
Key Vocabulary:
Sustainable, habitable, atmosphere, rover, Mercury, Venus, Mars,
Jupiter, and Saturn
* Students may have questions about specific vocabulary while they
are researching with words such as: density, composition, and mass
Rationale for Lesson/ Research Connections:
It is important for fifth grade Science curriculum to provide
information that will assist students in understanding the importance
of the Sun and water and how it is impacts life on Earth. It is also
important that they understand different planets and their relationhip
to the Sun and Earth. By researching the topic on their own, students
Planning for Planets
Earth and Space Science, Grade 5
can build off of their own understanding and practice researching for
important information This applies to higher grades as they will learn
more information about earth including the interior and exterior
composition of Earth, Earth’s unique atmosphere, light waves,
electromagnetic waves, interactions between the Earth, moon and sun,
and gravitational forces are explored in more depth.
Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory indicates that students are
multi-faceted and learn best when there are multiple ways to learn
content. This lesson targets different needs because it is grounded on
a creative platform. Students construct their own learning through
discovery. Piaget’s studies also helps support the design of the lesson
because it involves the idea that there is a schema based on previous
experience. These schemas are categories of knowledge that later
become more complex, and lead to more and more synthesis in
This lesson relates to ELA through the Common Core State
Standards. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.1.A states that students
“will come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required
material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information
known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.” In the
lesson, the students will prepare their won plans and draw conclusions
through discussion with their group members.