Universe Cycle - Solar System (1)
Post Lab 

  • Comparing and contrasting the planets of our Solar System.
  • Exploring how literature can help students recognize planets.
  • Moon
  • planet
  • revolve
  • Solar System
  • star
  • telescope
  • Universe

Discussing planets through literture.


The Solar System seems very large to children. You cannot easily point to an object in the sky and say that is a planet. Even with a telescope we cannot clearly see all of the planets.

Many elementary books on the planets have outstanding pictures. Pictures can help students distinguish the different planets. They can observe size, color, and the presence or absence of rings and moons, by using pictures. Remember that information on the planets changes and increases every year. Books published in the past may contain erroneous or out-of-date information because of this new research. However, these books may still be useful for their ability to reach younger children, as long as you update the material. Students should learn early that just because information is in a book does not mean it is correct.

  1. Read, How many Planets?  with students. After you read it once, go over the different pages to make sure students understood the major point.

    How Many Planets?

    The Solar System’s center is the Sun
    With planets and moons that revolve for fun

    As planet number one, Mercury moves fast
    Being so close to the Sun, will it last?

    Venus rotates clockwise is planet two
    With poisonous atmosphere it’s not for you

    Earth has water as planet number three
    Making it friendly  for you and me

    Mars comes in as planet four
    It’s named after the Roman God of War

    Jupiter is the largest at planet five
    It’s mostly gas with nothing alive

    Planet number six has rings, called Saturn
    They are made of gases with a circular pattern

    Uranus with a greenish glow is planet seven
    You need a telescope to see it in heaven

    Neptune is the name of planet eight
    The Roman God of the sea is so great

    One of the last known planets at the end of the line
    May not be just Pluto, as planet number nine

    Another planetoid was predicted by pen
    Was found, called Sedna, is this planet ten?

    The Solar System’s center is the Sun
    With planets and moons that revolve for fun


  2. Many primary books are based around a short story that involves someone taking a trip to the different planets. If you read a book, discuss with students what is fact and what is fiction.  For example, Planets by K. Jackson (Troll) is a typical planet book. In this book, an owl flies into outer space to look at our Solar System. The owl explains the difference between a star (produces light) and a planet (reflects light). The characteristics of each planet are described. There are pictures of each of the planets.  Below are some comments that would help a student understand the book better by asking the children some of the following questions:

    Can the owl actually fly in outer space? No, there is no air.
    Can we see the planets as the owl sees them? No, they are too far away.
    What instrument can we use to see things in outer space? A telescope.
    Can we get as close to the planets as the owl does? No.
    Are there aliens living in outer space? Unknown
    Is there only one star (our Sun) in the Universe? No, billions of stars.
    Do the planets remain still, or do they move around the Sun? They move around the Sun.

  3. The Internet has many sites on the planets. As space probes go to the different planets, there will be sites devoted to providing the public with this data.

    The following sites may be helpful in finding more information.

    View of the Solar System, information on each of the planets.

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