Be a Planet
Learn what planets are, as well as their names and what order they are in. Planet attributes can also be learned. Some students will "become" a planet so the names and order can be introduced. The teacher may wish to show pictures of the planets and name a few of the planets' attributes.
crayons or markers
book with planet pictures
flashlight (not necessary)
1. Choose a child to be the Sun. Have her come to the front of the class and hold a flashlight to show she provides light and heat.
2. Another student is chosen to be the planet Mercury, perhaps one whose name begins with "M" to help the children remember the name "Mercury." (If no first names are available, a student may be used whose name contains that letter or one who is wearing a color with the same beginning sound, such a violet for Venus.)
3. Continue choosing one child per planet. Have all the students say the new planet name each time a new student goes to the front of the room. You should end up with a line of 10 students: the Sun and the nine planets, from Mercury through Pluto.
4. See if each of the 10 standing students can remember their planet name. They can sit down.
5. Show the students pictures of the planets. You may want to tell a little about each planet, such as Jupiter is the largest, has many moons and a Red Spot that is three times the size of the Earth.
6. The children can each draw a picture of a planet. Emphasize that they are round. Many have moons and several have rings.
Building a Planetarium
Students will learn how to create a planetarium, interest them in space and inform them that stars and planets look alike from Earth.
A medium-sized plastic funnel
Black construction paper
A pencil or pen
A small flashlight
A kitchen or dining room table
One or two blankets
1. Take your funnel and tape your piece of black construction paper over the bigger hole of the funnel.
2. Take a small pin and pencil and poke holes in the black construction paper. Tell your students the small holes are stars while the bigger holes are the planets.
3. Set your student up under a table with a blanket covering the sides. The idea is to make the area under the table as dark as possible.
4. Shine your flashlight through the smallest part of the funnel and your student will have their own planetarium.