Project 3 Part 2


Name: Randi Frehner and Paul Mueller

Date: April 8, 2010

General Information 

Subject: Science 

Length of Lesson:

  • 4 – 4 ½ hours (may be broken up into three days-  the information found on the first day, and the project done on the second and third days)
  • 1st day-  1 hour
  • 2nd day- 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • 3rd day- 2 – 2 ½ hours (may be broken up further if needed)

Grade Level: 6th Grade 

Short Description/Summary: Students in 6th grade will use online resources to gain an understanding of the planets in our solar system.  They will use the information they gather to make a spreadsheet to compare the different planets and their characteristics.  After they compare information on the different planets, students will make a solar system mobile to share with the class containing a picture of the planet and their choice of three interesting facts they found throughout lesson on each planet. 




Student Learning

Connection to standards: 

 Utah K-12 Core Curriculum :

  • Standard 3
    Students will understand the relationship and attributes of objects in the solar system.

                 Objective 1
                 Describe and compare the components of the solar system.



1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

a. Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness.b.  Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.c.  Promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes.d.  Model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments.


2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

b.  Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress.



  1. Identify the planets in the solar system by name and relative location from the sun.
  2. Using references, compare the physical properties of the planets (e.g., size, solid or gaseous)
  3. Use models and graphs that accurately depict scale to compare the size and distance between objects in the solar system (this is done with the spreadsheet)
  4. Students will learn where the name of each planet came from and why.



  • Formative assessments will be used throughout the lesson to gain an understanding of how the given assignments are promoting learning. I will use observations, class discussions, and peer assessment to help students reflect on what they feel they should get out of the assignments. By having students grade each other, I can also gain an understanding of what they thought the effective and useful parts of the assignments were. 
  • Summative assessments will be used for the information filled in and graphs made during their Comparing Planets spreadsheet assignment, and also the answers found for the Planet Facts worksheet.  Summative assessment will also be used by both teachers and students based on a small presentation of their solar system mobiles using information found from both the Comparing Planets spreadsheet assignment and the Planet Facts worksheet.  These mobiles are completed at the end of the lesson and graded by a given rubric.  Both the teacher and the students will grade each presentation following the guidelines stated on the rubric.  




Lesson Preparation 

Technology Resources Required:

  • Computer- Internet Links


Other Materials Required:


Background for teachers:

  • Both of these websites may be used for both the Comparing Planets Spreadsheet and the Planet Facts worksheet.  However, if you would like to eliminate confusion of what information should be used where, the websites may be used as follows:


  • Comparing Planets Spreadsheet- this worksheet will need to be downloaded in Excel and all of the information should be filled in by the students using this website, and the other if they wish.


  • Planet Facts worksheet- this assignment will be filled out using the information found on the given sight.  Students should use this site to find interesting facts, facts they don’t think other people will use.  This way, when they use this information for their projects, it will be personalized and different from the others.  Students may also use the previous website if they wish.


  • Additional websites that may be used to help students gather information:


  • Students should be graded on their solar system mobile project based off of the rubric.  The rubric does not grade creativity, rather, it gives students simple guidelines to follow  to learn information needed.




  • Students will need to have prior knowledge of how planets rotate on an axis and orbit (revolutions) around the sun.      


  • Teachers should make sure that students have knowledge needed to complete this assignment. 
  • Teachers may also want to go over how to use Excel, so that students can be familiar with the program before completing assignments.
  • Teachers will also want have one hanger per student, and enough string that each student may use 9-10 feet.


The Lesson: 

Time: Lesson outline 
 1 day ahead

5 min

5 min

5 min

25 min

15 min

10-15 min

5 min

40-60 min

1 hr

30-40 min

20 min

15 min


  • How will I get the students’ attention and motivate them?

The day before we begin this assignment, I am going to ask students to go outside at night with their parents and see what they notice and may be able to pick out in the night sky.  We will then get together the next day as a class and talk about what the students may have noticed while looking up at the stars.

  • How will you activate and develop prior knowledge? 

We will talk about things such as shooting stars, comets, meteors, asteroids, manmade satellites, constellations, and the moon, as these may be things that they were able to identify.

  • How will you connect this lesson to previous lessons? 

Students will have previously had a lesson on most of these objects, and we will then introduce planets as the next category we are going to learn about in the solar system.  We will discuss where planets would be located in the night sky and how they may be seen.



  • Describe the steps you will take to develop the lesson.
  1. We will first discuss as a class how there are 9 planets in the Milky Way, and I will introduce students to what each of those planets looks like.
  2. After students have become a bit familiar with the planets, they will then break off into groups of no more than two to complete the Comparing Planets Spreadsheet, the Planet Facts Worksheet, and later, the solar system mobile.
  3. Once students are in their groups, I will then give directions that the Comparing Planets Spreadsheet may be found under the assignments section of the class website.  They must follow the directions given to explore the Kids Astronomy website and gather the needed information to complete the assignment. 
  4. Once the groups have completed the spreadsheet assignment, they may then begin on Planet Facts worksheet using the Enchanted Learning website.  I will explain to my students that they will want to be picky about the information they use for this worksheet, as it will be used on their project.  Each group will want to find information that seems interesting to them, something they think is unique and that other groups will not use, because this will make their solar system mobile projects more interesting and stand out. (Another website that may be useful for students to use for both worksheets is National geographic)
  5. Once all of the students have finished both assignments, we will then gather together for a class discussion.  We will discuss things such as; how planets differ in diameter, how each planets day differs from each other and also how they compare to our days on earth, and other discussion questions found in the formative assessment section.  This will help them to learn other information that they had not found, and also get the thinking about what information seemed most interesting that they may be able use in the project.
  6. After we have discussed our information as a class, it will then be time for each group to begin their solar system mobile project. 
  7. I will then hand out a rubric to each student, and explain that by following the directions in the boxes on the right hand side, each group can receive full points for their project.  The main thing I will be looking for is creativity (meaning that they come up with their own ideas and decorate in a way that they feel reflects themselves).  
  8. Each group will be given the solar system mobile planets worksheets.  With these worksheets, the students will then color and create each of the 9 planets for their solar system.  Students may need to use the internet again to look up planet images to then create themselves planets for their mobile.
  9. Each group will also be given a facts sheet for each planet, which may be decorated and written on.  This is where students will include information found from their previous worksheets to explain a bit about each planet.  Each planet must have at least three facts written or typed on the facts sheet.
  10.   After the groups have completed their planets and facts sheet, I will then show them how to assemble their mobile, to then create their very own solar system.
  11.   Once every group has put together their solar system, they will get up in front of the class for a brief presentation of their mobile.  Students will want to explain why they decorated their mobile the way they did, and also what information they chose to share for each planet. 


  • Deep learning is promoted in a number of ways:
  • Evaluation- In the spreadsheet assignment, students make predictions on what they feel outcomes will be in comparing the planets.  Students also rate information on what they feel is important information to be learned when choosing specific topics to include in their solar system mobile. 
  • Analysis- During the spreadsheet assignment, students use both calculating, examination, experimentation, and analyzing to understand the information found for each planet.  They use different methods to find different answers to understand how to compare the information.
  • Synthesis- Students also use synthesis during all three parts of this lesson plan to collect data, arrange information into some type of organized form to then create a solar system mobile.



  • How will you conclude the activity?
  1. After every student has presented their mobile, we will then have one last small discussion as a class.
  2. We will then decide as a class one fact that we liked best from each group, and one member from that group will come up to the solar system bulletin to write that fact down. 
  3. Once every group has a fact on the bulletin, we will then use these facts throughout the rest of the school year to help us reflect on and remember important information about our planets.  This bulletin will be used throughout the year to add new information each time we learn a new lesson on the solar system.  Students will then be tested at the end of the year on the facts on the bulletin to ensure that they learned the information that they decided was most useful to them.



  • How do I know the students learned?

Learning will be evaluated throughout the lesson by formative assessment.  After students complete both their Comparing Planets spreadsheet and their Planet Facts worksheet, we will gather together for class discussion.  In this discussion we will talk about

  • How planets differ in diameter
  • Based on the information found for the planet’s distance from the sun, we will decide where each planet belongs in the solar system
  • How each planets days differ from each other and also compare that to our length of day on Earth to help students relate this information to themselves
  • Understand that which planets have natural satellites (moons) and which do not.
  • Interesting facts found on different planets
  • Why each planet had a particular name
  • Once we have discussed these different topics as a class, students will then learn about how to make a solar system mobile.  Students will also be given a rubric, and view examples of mobiles done in the past. 
  • As a class we will use the rubric to help decide how these mobiles rank.  What these previous students did well with their mobiles, what information was interesting, what mobiles had creativity, and what are some things that could be improved.  This will help students to understand what will be expected of them when working on their own solar system mobiles, and also help them gain fun and interesting ideas to use.  This will also help me see as a teacher which students are catching on to what these assignments are meant to accomplish, and which students may need some extra help. 
  • I will also use the peer assessment to understand what perspectives the students used when doing their projects, and hopefully gain new perspectives myself.  I can gain understanding of what the students found useful and effective, and also help them assess their own work based off of how they would grade somebody else’s project.


Learning will also be evaluated through summative assessment.  This will be done by grading both of their in class assignments and also grading their solar system mobile project based off of a rubric.

  • Checking to see if the information found from the websites given were correct and that students understood where the answers needed to be placed on their Comparing planets worksheet.
  • Checking to see if students explored these websites and were able to find information that they found interesting to answer questions on their Planet Facts worksheet.
  • Also making sure that this interesting information was actually true, and helping the student understand what the correct answer would be if not.  This will clarify misconceptions and help them to use correct information for their project.
  • Students will be given a project toward the end of the lesson to create a solar system mobile.  I will check to see that students followed the rubric and used information found from the previous two assignments to help them build facts for the mobile.



By allowing students to work together, I make it possible to fill in gaps that may exist.  If one student is unable to do things such as cutting and gluing, their partner may be able to do that part, but will still use suggestions from the other students.  This also works the same in other similar situations, and also ESL students.  Students who may have difficulty with English can be guided by their partner, allowing for peer teaching and learning, which actually will benefit both student’s learning.


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