What sizes are the planets and how do they move around the sun?
This is a whole class activity in which the class will physically model how the planets move around the sun. I will have the balloons blown up, they will be labeled with the names of the planets, along with different sizes, and colors. Students will see all the planets smallest to biggest and their distance from the sun. The students will learn about vocabulary words: solar system, revolution, rotation, and orbit.
Learn the planets' names
Learn the definition of a planet
Observe that planets are different sizes
Observe that planets are different distances from the sun
Define solar system, revolution, rotation, and orbit
Context for Use
Resource Type: Activities:Field Activity, Classroom Activity
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning
Grade Level: Middle (6-8)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Planetary Science
Description and Teaching Materials
Ask students, "Do you know what a planet is?" Have students give their suggestions, then put the real definition on the board. Next ask the students if they know that planets are different sizes and distances from the sun. Explain to the students that they will be planets today and will be modeling how planets revolve, rotate, and orbit the sun.
Teaching Notes and Tips
1. The Earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, seven other planets and their moons, and smaller objects.
Benchmark 220.127.116.11.4: Compare and contrast the planets and the moons of our solar system in terms of their size, location and composition.