Lesson plan

Explore the Outer Planets

Use this lesson to teach your students about the planets that are the farthest away from the sun! Teach them about the planets with rings and the materials inside the rings.
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  • Students will be able to identify the outer planets.
  • Students will be able to compare and contrast the outer planets with each other.
  • Students will be able to describe the characteristics of the outer planets.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell your students that they will learn about the outer planets today.
  • Ask your students if they know the names of any outer planets.
  • List them on the board.
(40 minutes)
  • Pass out the Know Your Planet: Jupiter, Know Your Planet: Uranus, Know Your Planet: Neptune, and Know Your Planet: Saturn worksheets to each student.
  • Go over these worksheets as a class by having your students read them out loud. Explain each paragraph to your students as you go over them.
(30 minutes)
  • Pass out a few sheets of white paper to each student.
  • Tell your students to work with a partner and create an outer planets book.
  • Instruct them to make a title page with their names.
  • Ask your students to make a page or two about each outer planet that includes the name of the planet, a picture of the planet, and 3-5 facts about the planet.
  • Tell your students to use their worksheets from explicit instruction to create their planet books.
  • Ask your students to color the pictures.
(20 minutes)
  • Ask your students to pick one outer planet and complete the Research Your Planet worksheet about it.
  • Enrichment: Ask your students to pick two outer planets. Have them go to the library and research the two outer planets they picked. Direct them to write a compare and contrast essay on the two planets. Ask your students to write at least one similarity and two differences about the two planets. Instruct them to use at least two books to find information.
  • Support: Give each student four index cards. Ask them to use their worksheets from explicit instruction and their planet books to write information about the planets on the index cards. Tell them to use one card for each planet.
(10 minutes)
  • Conduct a short quiz on the outer planets. Potential questions include: Name the four outer planets. Which planet is known for its ring? Which is the third largest planet in the solar system? Which is the eighth planet from the sun?
(10 minutes)
  • Ask your students to complete the Planet Scramble worksheet.
  • Go over it as a class.

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