Lesson Plan : Students Orbit the Solar System

Teacher Name:
 Soltesz/Allgeier/Dunbar
Grade:
 Grade 9-10
Subject:
 Science

Topic:
 Planets/Solar System
Content:
 PA Academic Standards for Science and Technology: 3.4.7.D: Describe essential ideas about the composition and structure of the universe and the earth's place in it. -Compare various planets' characteristics. PA Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening 1.1.8.B: Identify and use common organization structures and graphic features to comprehend information. 1.1.8.G: Demonstrate afterreading understanding and interpretation of texts. 1.6.8.A: Listen to others. 1.6.8.E: Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations. 1.8.8.C: Organize, summarize, and present the main ideas from research.
Goals:
 Students will develop an understanding of the nine planets and an appreciation for the earth's place in the solar system.
Objectives:
 Students will be able to: -identify three characteristics of each planet, including location in the solar system, physical appearance or description, and an interesting fact about the planet, on a provided graphic organizer. -create a diagram featuring the orbits of the 9 planets.
Materials:
 -station for each planet (models, books, internet access) -graphic organizers
Introduction:
 Journal Prompt: If you could travel in space, which planet would you visit? What would you take with you? Why? (10 minutes)
Development:
 Lecture Burst: Introduce today's lesson and explain the procedures for the Station Activity. Students will count off by 8. The teacher will begin the first station with the class as a whole, setting the example and teaching the behavior. Then, the teacher will distribute the graphic organizer and students will assemble in their small groups. (10 minutes)
Practice:
 Each group will spend 5 minutes (4 1/2 at each station, 30 second transition) at each of the 8 stations completing their graphic organizer using complete sentences. The teacher will put students "on the clock" to begin/end each station. Teacher will monitor student performance and answer any questions they may have. (40 minutes)
Accommodations:
 -Groups may be split up into peer groups according to mixed abilities (heterogenous grouping). This will enable high academic students to assist the lower level students. -The activity allows students to move around the classroom (bodily-kinesthetic learning) and to interact with peers. -Graphic organizer may have one answer filled in for each planet to assist students.
Checking For Understanding:
 Each group will be assigned one planet to present in front of the class. They will discuss their findings; the other students will check their graphic organizers to make sure they have correct facts/information. They will then place the model of their planet onto a large model of the solar system.(20 minutes)
Closure:
 Students will create a diagram of the solar system placing each planet on its orbit. They will turn this diagram and their graphic organizer in to the teacher before leaving.(5 minutes)
Evaluation:
 Students will receive 30 points for completion of the Planet's graphic organizer and participation in review of their particular planet. They will also receive 10 points for the correct completion of the Solar System diagram.
Teacher Reflections:
 Developing a lesson plan is definitely easier with a partner (or 2!). It was relatively simple for us to integrate two content areas into this lesson, because Language Arts addresses reading, writing, speaking, and listening. We learned that the teacher must be prepared and have reasonable expectations for the students. It was difficult to fit all of our planned activities into the allotted time. However, this lesson works out well because if the teacher runs out of time, they can continue the presentations the next day and assign the Solar System diagram for homework. This lesson requires a good amount of commitment; the teacher must put in a lot of time organizing the stations before the class actually uses them. We feel that using a hands-on lesson versus a class lecture will increase student learning. Student-centered learning will also increase intrinsic motivation and empower the students to facilitate their own learning. A very organized and developed lesson, such as this, allows a teacher to focus on delivery and students needs, rather than worrying about what's coming up next.

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