Solar System Lesson Plan
Analyzing the Learners
This lesson plan is designed for eighth grade students. The lesson plan is designed to be used in
an average Earth Space Science classroom, although it could be modified to accommodate
children in an advanced or gifted classroom. The students have some prior knowledge about
the Solar System, but did not go into much depth in previous grades. The eighth grade students
are a mixture of auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners. This Solar System lesson plan
incorporates different activities that will be beneficial and fun to all three styles of learners.
Sunshine State Standards
SC.8.E.5.8 → Compare various historical models of the solar system , including geocentric and
SC.8.E.5.3 → Distinguish the hierarchical relationships between planets and other astronomical
bodies relative to solar system , galaxy, and universe, including distance, size, and composition.
SC.8.E.5.7 → Compare and contrast the properties of objects in the solar system including the
sun, planets, and moons to those of Earth, such as gravitational force, distance from the sun,
speed, movement, temperature, and atmospheric conditions.
LA.188.8.131.52 → The student will evaluate and apply digital tools (e.g., word, processing,
multimedia authoring, web tools, and graphic organizers) to publications and presentations.
• Given internet access, the student will be able to differentiate between the geocentric and
heliocentric models of the solar system with complete mastery.
• The student will be able to paraphrase the difference between the geocentric model and
heliocentric model of the solar system given a laptop with internet access with 90% accuracy.
• The student will be able to compare and contrast characteristics of different planets in the
solar system (such as temperatures and distance from the sun) working in a small group with
• Working with the same group and a laptop with internet access and Microsoft Office, the
student will be able to construct a presentation that incorporates technology on one planet in
the solar system with 98% accuracy.
• Given access to the NASA virtual field trip, the student will be able to analyze how certain
properties of the Earth are similar to properties of planets in the solar system with complete
Bloom’s Taxonomy Level
Given the above objectives, the student will master skills in the areas of analysis,
comprehension, and application. The students will gain skills in the area of analysis, by
differentiating between the geocentric and heliocentric models of the solar system and
mastering a quiz on these models with 90% accuracy. They will also gain skills in the area of
analysis, and by comparing and contrasting characteristics of different planets in the solar
system (such as temperatures and distance from the sun) by creating a compare and contrast
chart. Finally, the student will gain skills in analysis by participating in a NASA virtual field trip
and analyzing how certain properties of the Earth are similar to properties of other planets in
the solar system. The area of comprehension will be evident in this lesson, with the student
paraphrasing the differences between the geocentric and heliocentric models of the solar
system with 90% accuracy. Last but not least, application will be used in this lesson when the
student constructs a presentation on one planet in the solar system and incorporates
technology into the presentation.
Select Media and Materials
•Internet access in order to visit…
- Online encyclopedias
- Websites about the solar system
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft PowerPoint
•NASA Virtual Field Trip software (free download)
• Doc Cam
Utilize Your Media
• Reserve laptop cart for our class
• Create an online quiz for the students to take
• Download NASA Virtual Fieldtrip software to all laptops
• Create a PowerPoint as an introduction to the solar system unit
• Create a KWL chart to complete with the class
Require Learner Participation
This lesson plan encourages students to learn as opposed to trying to just “teach” them. It is
designed so the students are eager to participate in the activities and not just have them listen
to a 50 minute lecture. The following is tentative plan for each day of the week.
Monday: We will begin class on Monday by creating a KWL chart as a class, using a Doc Cam.
The KWL chart will begin the solar system unit, and will allow the students to share what they
know with the class, what they want to learn, and at the end of the unit, what they learned.
There will also be a short slideshow as an introduction to the solar system unit. At the end of
the period, the class will be divided up into 8 groups of 3 or 4 students. The groups will be
picked by the instructor, not the students. This is the group they will complete their planet
research and presentation with which will begin on Wednesday.
Tuesday: The students will sign out a laptop from the laptop cart and research the heliocentric
and geocentric models of the solar system. They will be given a link on my Wiki to a set of
questions to answer. They must answer the questions for both models. This is to be completed
individually. The students will then complete a short quiz online about the two solar system
Wednesday: At the beginning of class, the students will check out laptops for their group (2
laptops per group in order to promote teamwork!) Each group will be assigned (by the
instructor) a planet from the solar system to research. The group will be given a list of
information they need to research for whatever planet they are assigned. They will also begin
creating their presentation to share with the class, and must incorporate technology into their
presentation. The presentation can be a PowerPoint, Inspiration concept map, flyer etc.
Thursday: The students will check out laptops for their groups again (2 laptops per group!) and
they will wrap up their presentations. They will be given 20 minutes to do this. For the
remaining 25 minutes of class, the groups will present their presentations on the planet they
were assigned. Presentations will go in order of distance from the Sun (Mercury first, Venus
Friday: On Friday, the students will participate in a virtual field trip. The field trip is provided by
NASA, and only requires a free download on a computer. The virtual field trip shows students
areas on the Earth that are similar to other planets in the solar system. The students will work
in pairs, and each pair will use a laptop. Working together allows the students to explore things
that they might have overlooked if they were working alone.
Evaluate and Revise
I think that this lesson plan was successful in my classroom. Giving the students the freedom to
work on their own motivated them to complete the work. They were not required to sit and take notes
from a lecture or PowerPoint presentation, which is the case in many classrooms today. I also think that
allowing them to do something new like using the computers and making a presentation made it fun for
the students. Children always like a change, especially in the classroom where things can get boring
after a while. Incorporating a lot of technology into this lesson allowed them to do something they like
(use the computers) while learning about the solar system. I think that one thing I could change about
this lesson plan would be the amount of time given. I felt like there were some days we were rushing to
get everything done (like Monday) and then other days we seemed to finish activities early.