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Solar System Lesson

Updated on November 2, 2016
Our pizza version of Jupiter
Our pizza version of Jupiter

This is part 1 of a 4 part hands-on unit on Astronomy. Make planet pizzas, take a planet walk, and more in this exciting lesson on our fascinating solar system! My lessons are geared toward 3rd - 4th grade level children and their siblings. These are lessons I created to do with a weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 14 children between the ages of 1-13. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, family, after school program, or co-op!

Should we include Pluto when we teach about the solar system?

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Introducing the Planets

1) Stretch & pray. Read & discuss Psalm 19:1-6.

2) Read Me and My Place in Space by Joan Sweeney on the solar system.

3) Go over mnemonic phrase to remember planets' order: "My Very Excited Monkey Just Slurped Up Noodles" or if you want to include Pluto "My Very Excited Monkey Just Slurped Up Nine Pineapples." Have a drawing of the monkey eating up noodles or 9 pineapples and the mnemonic phrase written out to show the children as you go over it.

4) If you are not limited by time, Read The Planet Hunter: The Story Behind What Happened to Pluto by Elizabeth Rusc.

Book to Read for Activity 2

Me and My Place in Space (Dragonfly Books)
Me and My Place in Space (Dragonfly Books)

This gives a simple overview of the planets. It is quick to read and has fun illustrations, making it a great choice to use a a read aloud book!

 

Book to Read for Activity 4

The Planet Hunter: The Story Behind What Happened to Pluto
The Planet Hunter: The Story Behind What Happened to Pluto

This has wonderful illustrations and does an excellent job of explaining what happened to Pluto as a planet.

 
Making the pizza dough
Making the pizza dough

Planet Pizza Dough

5) Start making Planet Pizzas. Each group/family can make 1 recipe of the below dough as it will make enough dough to make all 8 planets.

Pizza dough amount per group/family:
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 c. oil
2 cups warm water (110 degrees)

Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix in oil and warm water.

YOU WILL NEED PER FAMILY OR GROUP OF 4-5 CHILDREN: 1 12-inch ruler, 1 rolling pin, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 mixing spoon, 1 cup measuring cup & measuring spoons, 2 baking sheets or pizza stones (round if possible), 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast, 7 cups all-purpose flour, ¼ cup oil, 2 tsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. sugar, warm water, ½ cup fettuccini sauce (1 jar can be shared among groups), at least 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, at least 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of red & yellow bell peppers cut into strips (bell peppers can be shared among groups), blue food coloring (can be shared among groups), 4 pieces of pepperoni (OR use circles of red bell pepper), 4 spinach leaves or 4 bite-size pieces of cooked broccoli, and ½ jar of pizza sauce

Pizza planets of Mars, Earth, & Venus
Pizza planets of Mars, Earth, & Venus

Pizza Planets: The Terrestrial Planets

Help the children grasp the variation in sizes of the planets.

6) Pizza Decorations: Work as families (i.e. you're partnered with your siblings) to measure out the dough and decorate each of the dough planets. For the Mercury, Venus, Earth, & Mars pizzas, we just pinched and pushed with our fingers to get them to be the approximate right size. We used a ruler to measure each planet.

We listened to The Planets Orchestral Suite by Gustav Holst as we made the pizzas. I also showed pictures of each of the planets and quickly discussed some characteristics as we formed and decorated them. I used the pictures from Ten Worlds by Ken Croswell, but you could also use pictures from the Internet using your laptop or tablet.

If the sun was 144 inches (12 feet), then the planets would be:

Mercury: 1/2 inch (0.50 inch) = Do not add anything to it
*Mercury is barren and gray with lots of crater marks because it has no atmosphere to protect it. It's a terrestrial planet because it has land that you could step on. Mercury spins around in a circle (rotates) so slowly that its year is shorter than a day. It takes 88 Earth days for Mercury to go around the sun, but it takes 176 Earth days for one full day and night.

Venus: 1 1/4 inches (1.25 inches) = Top with white fettuccine sauce for the clouds
*You can actually see Venus in the sky at night. Just after the sun sets and just before the sun rises, Venus looks like a bright white star in the sky, but it doesn't twinkle like stars do. It's a terrestrial planet because it has land that you could step on. It has yellow clouds of sulfuric acid and carbon dioxide all around it. Even though Mercury is closer to the sun, Venus is the hottest planet (876 F) because of the atmosphere. It has lots of lightening and many volcanoes. Venus actually rotates the opposite direction of all the other planets.

Earth: 1 1/4 inches (1.32 inches) = Top with fettuccine sauce that's been tinted blue with food coloring (water), a piece of spinach or broccoli (land), and then sprinkle with mozzarella (clouds)
*God made this planet for us to live on. It's the perfect distance from the sun, has an atmosphere to protect us, and has the oxygen we need to breathe. Most of our planet is covered in water, but it is a terrestrial planet because it has land that you could step on.

Mars: 3/4 inch (0.70 inch) = Top with red pizza sauce
*Who's seen something with rust on it before? Mars is covered in "rust" (iron), so it looks red. It has the largest volcano in our solar system, Olympus Mons. It's a terrestrial planet because it has land that you could step on.

(Ceres: It's so tiny we're not going to make it.)
*Ceres was discovered in the Asteroid Belt in 1801. Scientists considered it to be a planet for 50 years, and then in 1851 they decided to simply call it a large asteroid. In 2006 when scientists came up with a new category of planets, the Dwarf Planets, Ceres again became known as a planet but only a Dwarf Planet. It's only about 1/4 the size of our moon.)

Jupiter pizza planet (prior to getting the pepperoni Giant Red Spot)
Jupiter pizza planet (prior to getting the pepperoni Giant Red Spot)

Pizza Planets: The Gas Giants

6) Pizza Decorations (continued). We used a rolling pin to measure out Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, & Neptune. We rolled them out on pieces of parchment paper (that can go in the oven) or floured wax paper (that can't go in the oven). After you make the Jupiter pizzas, begin baking them immediately at 375 for 20 minutes so they'll be ready to eat by snack time. We were able to place all of the Mercury, Venus, Earth, & Mars pizzas along with some of the Neptune & Uranus pizzas together on one baking sheet. After we baked all the Jupiter pizzas, we baked the assorted planet pizzas (375 for 7 minutes for smaller ones and 12 minutes for Neptune & Uranus). Then we baked the Saturn pizzas (375 for 18 minutes). One teacher/mom stayed in the kitchen to take care of baking the pizzas. Tip: This would be a great time to use toaster ovens as well if you have them!

Jupiter: 14 3/4 inches (14.79 inches) = Top with pizza sauce. Sprinkle with alternating stripes of mozzarella & cheddar cheese. Place a pepperoni (or red bell pepper) "red spot" on top. Put this straight in the oven at 375F to bake for 20-22 minutes.
*Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. It has a really violent hurricane called the Great Red Spot that has been swirling for hundreds of years. The Great Red Spot hurricane is the size of the entire Earth! Jupiter is a Gas Giant planet because it doesn't have any land you could step on. It is made entirely of smelly gases that smell like rotten eggs (ammonia hydrosulfide) & Windex (ammonia). Like all the gas giants, Jupiter does have rings, but they are very thin and hard to see.

Saturn: 12 inches (12.05 inches) = Top with pizza sauce. Sprinkle with alternating stripes of mozzarella & cheddar cheese. Lay two or three lines of bell pepper strips across the middle for the rings. Put this straight in the oven at 375F to bake for 18-20 minutes.
*Saturn has many rings around it, labeled A to G by scientists. The rings aren't solid like a hula hoop. They are actually lots of bits of rocks and ice that float around and around the planet. They just look like rings from far away. It's a Gas Giant planet because it only has gas. It doesn't have any land you could step on.

Uranus: 4 3/4 inches (4.86 inches) = Top with fettuccine sauce that's been tinted blue with food coloring
*Uranus looks blue or aquamarine. It's a Gas Giant planet because it only has gas. It doesn't have any land you could step on. Uranus actually spins on its side as does its moons. Scientists have many theories on why they all spin this way. I think God made them do this just to baffle scientists and show His creativity (just like with the duck-billed platypus).

Neptune: 4 3/4 inches (4.70 inches) = Top with fettuccine sauce that's been tinted blue with food coloring and sprinkle with a small amount of mozzarella cheese. Add one drop of blue food dye to be the "blue spot."
*Neptune looks blue. It also has a large storm on it that never stops. Its storm looks like a big blue spot. It's a Gas Giant planet because it only has gas. It doesn't have any land you could step on.

Dwarf Planet Eris
Dwarf Planet Eris | Source

Dwarf Planets of the Kuiper Belt

We will only be talking about these planets.

Pluto: Pluto was considered a planet for 76 years until scientists decided to classify it as a dwarf planet along with Ceres and along with the other planets that were discovered in the Kuiper Belt. Pluto is very cold and icy. As it orbits the sun, it sometimes moves closer to the sun than Neptune. Pluto has a reddish appearance.

Haumea: Haumea is shaped like an egg (ellipsoidal) and because of its rapid orbit, it appears almost like a water balloon or football flipping over and over again.

Makemake: Makemake was discovered around Easter, so scientists initially referred to it as "Easterbunny." They chose to name it after a god from Easter Island to keep in line with the Easter theme. Makemake has a reddish appearance.

Eris: Eris is actually larger than Pluto. It appears gray.

How the Planets Got Their Names

7) Show pictures from Kingdom of the Sun by Jacqueline Mitton or The Planet Gods by Jacqueline Mitton to quickly go through from where the names of the planets came.

Book to Read for Activity 7

The Planet Gods: Myths and Facts About the Solar System
The Planet Gods: Myths and Facts About the Solar System

This does a great job at describing how each of the planets got their names. It also has captivating illustrations. This is the updated version that includes Ceres and Eris. The previous edition went by the title Kingdom of the Sun.

 
Staking down Mercury while carrying Mercury's running shoes on our planet walk
Staking down Mercury while carrying Mercury's running shoes on our planet walk

8) Assign each child a planet. If you have more than 10 children, you can partner some of them up. Give each child a planet stick (dowel rod, stick, or wooden skewer with a picture & name of the sun or planet taped to the top) and a costume/accessory (listed below). I used pictures from Appendix D in this other unit for the pictures of the planets.

Planet Costume/Accessory:

SUN = a yellow hat or something else sun-related

MERCURY = running shoes or something else messenger related

VENUS = (assign to a girl) Valentines or something else love-related

EARTH = Ziplock bag of dirt & Ziplock bag of water.

MARS = foam sword or something else war-related

JUPITER = crown

SATURN = a trowel & farmer's hat or something else farming-related

URANUS = a t-shirt with a sun on it or something else sky-related

NEPTUNE = scuba mask & snorkel or something else swimming-related

(PLUTO & the other KUIPER BELT DWARF PLANETS = a jacket and scarf or something else cold-related or else something devil/death related such as a toy pitchfork or "devil" horns headband)

YOU WILL NEED: dowel rods/skewers, tape, pictures of planets, & above costume/accessory items

Saturn staked in the ground on our planet walk
Saturn staked in the ground on our planet walk

If you can't get one of the books by Jacqueline Mitton, here is a basic background of how planet got its name:

MERCURY - swift and speedy messenger of the Roman gods. Mercury orbits the sun very quickly compared to Earth, taking only 88 Earth days for Mercury to orbit the sun, so it would zip across the evening sky.

VENUS - Roman goddess of love and beauty. Venus shines brightly and beautifully in the sky.

EARTH - Not named after Roman mythology. Either means "oceans" or "water" because it's the only planet with water or means "soil."

MARS - Roman god of war. The red color of Mars is like blood and war.

JUPITER - Roman king of the gods. It's enormous in size.

SATURN - Roman god of the harvest. Saturn was only visible in the northern hemisphere during the growing seasons of summer.

URANUS - father of all the Greek gods and god of the sky. Often wealthy Greeks and Romans lounged around at meals or in conversation and the typical position for them to do this would be to recline on pillows on their side. Just as they reclined on their sides, Uranus is "lying on its side" as it rotates on its side.

NEPTUNE - Roman god of the sea. It' s blue in color and resembles the sea.

(PLUTO - Roman god of the underworld. Romans believed that the underworld had two distinct areas, one of extreme heat and fire and one of extreme cold and ice. Because of Pluto's distance from the sun, it is very dark and cold.)

Measuring out the approximate distance between planets
Measuring out the approximate distance between planets

Planet Walk

How far apart are each of the planets?

9) Children bring planet rods and their costume/accessories for the planet walk on which we'll measure the distance between the planets (distances came from Exploring the Solar System by Mary Kay Carson). Choose a very long sidewalk, path, parking lot, or yard. Decide where the sun begins and plant the rod in that place. Follow the below steps. At each location, the person or group who's been assigned that planet will place the planet rod in the ground. As you walk back, ask the children what they learned about the distance between the planets. Where do they think is the half-way point is in the journey out to the Kuiper Belt/Pluto? It's not Jupiter or Saturn. It's Uranus!

To Get From:

Sun to Mercury walk 3 steps

Mercury to Venus 2.5 steps

Venus to Earth 2 steps

Earth to Mars 4 steps

Mars to Jupiter 27.5 steps

Jupiter to Saturn 32.5 steps

Saturn to Uranus 72 steps

Uranus to Neptune 81.5 steps

Neptune to Kuiper Belt/Pluto 71 steps

Planets poster
Planets poster

Planets Go Spinning Song

10) Sing Planets Go Spinning song.
(Tune: "When Johnny Comes Marching")
(Revised version from Ranger Rick Naturscope: Astronomy)
The planets revolve around the sun in Orion's Arm. (Flex arm muscle)
The planets revolve around the sun in Orion's Arm. (Flex arm muscle)
The planets revolve around the sun (Twist index finger in a circle)
And spin on their axes every one. (Spin around in place)
As they all go spinning, (Spin around in place)
Around and around in the Milky Way. (Spin around in place)

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars (Terrestrial planets) (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars (Terrestrial planets) (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
All whirling and twirling among the stars (Spin around in place)
As they all go spinning, (Spin around in place)
Around and around in the Milky Way. (Spin around in place)

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune (The Gas Giants) (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune (The Gas Giants) (Hold up 1, 2, 3, & then 4 fingers)
We now have to leave Pluto out of this tune (Hold out both hands, shake head, & frown)
As they all go spinning, (Spin around in place)
Around and around in the Milky Way. (Spin around in place)

Showing the children the picture of the Milky Way Galaxy from the book Galaxies by Seymour Simon
Showing the children the picture of the Milky Way Galaxy from the book Galaxies by Seymour Simon

Our Galaxy

11) Read book on our galaxy, My Place in Space by Robin Hirst.

12) Point out the tiny dot of our solar system in the Milky Way on the photograph. I used the picture from the book Galaxies by Seymour Simon, but you could also use a picture from the Internet using your laptop or tablet. Remind the children of how enormous God is and how He created and takes care of all of this and us.

Book to Read for Activity 11

My Place in Space
My Place in Space

This is the story we read. It is about a boy who explains to a bus driver exactly where he is. It goes beyond his city and continent to include our planet, solar system, galaxy and supercluster. It's fairly quick to read and had excellent illustrations, making it a nice read aloud.

 

How Big Are We in the Universe?

If you're not limited by time, check out this interactive website that deals with the relative sizes of things in the universe, from the smallest known objects to the largest. Scroll in to see gamma wavelengths and atoms. Scroll out into the universe to see galaxies and superclusters. It is amazing! My older boys were especially amused that it even includes Minecraft!

One set of the baked planet pizzas
One set of the baked planet pizzas
The baked planet pizzas in order
The baked planet pizzas in order

Snack & Review

13) Eat pizza planets and take the rest home.

YOU WILL NEED: plastic wrap and/or old pizza boxes for each family to use to take home their remaining pizzas, pizza cutter, and (per child) 1 cup for water & 1 napkin

14) Let children each select a planet. They will present on that planet at the end of the unit.

15) 5 Minute Review what we've learned.

Joke: What kind of songs do the planets like to sing?

Nep-tunes!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Tish Rabe - Book images are from amazon.com.The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System by Joanna Cole The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklin M. BranleyNext Stop Neptune: Experiencing the Solar System by Alvin JenkinsSeeing Red: The Planet Mars (Amazing Science: Planets) by Nancy Loewen
There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Tish Rabe - Book images are from amazon.com.
There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Tish Rabe - Book images are from amazon.com.
The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System by Joanna Cole
The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System by Joanna Cole
The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklin M. Branley
The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklin M. Branley
Next Stop Neptune: Experiencing the Solar System by Alvin Jenkins
Next Stop Neptune: Experiencing the Solar System by Alvin Jenkins
Seeing Red: The Planet Mars (Amazing Science: Planets) by Nancy Loewen
Seeing Red: The Planet Mars (Amazing Science: Planets) by Nancy Loewen

Our Top 5 Favorite Picture Books on the Solar System

There are many great options for read aloud books on the planets on the solar system. It was hard to decide which one we enjoyed the most. There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Tish Rabe was one of our favorites. It is written in "Cat in the Hat" rhyming fashion and provides a good, simple overview on the solar system. The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System by Joanna Cole is another great option for a read aloud. It provides a little more information than There's No Place Like Space. In this book Ms. Frizzle's class takes a field trip to each of the planets. All my children and students love this book! We also really enjoyed The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklin M. Branley (part of the Let's Read and Find Out Science series) and Next Stop Neptune: Experiencing the Solar System by Alvin Jenkins. Amazing Science: Planets is a great picture book series on individual planets. One of the titles in the series is Seeing Red: The Planet Mars by Nancy Loewen.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery by Margaret Weitekamp - Book Images are from amazon.com.Galaxies by Seymour Simon Ten Worlds: Everything That Orbits the Sun by Ken Croswell13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Kids) by David A. Aguilar
Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery by Margaret Weitekamp - Book Images are from amazon.com.
Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery by Margaret Weitekamp - Book Images are from amazon.com.
Galaxies by Seymour Simon
Galaxies by Seymour Simon
Ten Worlds: Everything That Orbits the Sun by Ken Croswell
Ten Worlds: Everything That Orbits the Sun by Ken Croswell
13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Kids) by David A. Aguilar
13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Kids) by David A. Aguilar

A Few More Favorite Books Related to the Planets

Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery by Margaret Weitekamp talks about how Pluto was discovered, how it was classified as a planet, and why it was later reclassified as a dwarf planet or Kuiper Belt object. It is written in a fun, whimsical manner that kept my children engaged, and the end of the book includes early photos of it and the astronomers who worked diligently to discover it. Galaxies by Seymour Simon has great photographs and is short enough to read through with children. This is the book I used to show photographs of the types of galaxies and our galaxy. I only used this to show pictures as I talked during the co-op class, but I did read it to my family. Ten Worlds: Everything That Orbits the Sun by Ken Croswell was the book I used to show photos of each of the planets. It has beautiful, clean photographs (or realistic looking drawings) of each planet. 13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Kids) by David A. Aguilar is great because it includes information about the dwarf planets. It includes a few sentences about the god/goddess the planet was named after along with a few interesting facts about each planet. It does have evolutionary language, so we skipped over those parts. The illustrations (which look like photographs) of each of the planets are usually from the perspective of astronauts standing on one of the planet's moons, so the moonscape is included as well.

Our Favorite Christian Resource on the Solar System: Jonathan Park: The Voyage Beyond Audio Drama CD

The Voyage Beyond (Jonathan Park Radio Drama)
The Voyage Beyond (Jonathan Park Radio Drama)

Jonathan Park is a great audio drama series teaching us about creation from Christian perspective. Volume VII includes the Creation Response Team's adventures as they venture into outer space. You'll learn a lot about how the solar system points to God, our Creator.

 
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Exploring Creation With Astronomy (Young Explorer Series) (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries)) by Jeannie K. Fulbright The Heavens Proclaim His Glory: A Spectacular View of Creation Through the Lens of the NASA Hubble Telescope by Thomas NelsonThe Work of His Hands by Jeffrey N. WilliamsThe Astronomy Book (Wonders of Creation) by Jonathan Henry
Exploring Creation With Astronomy (Young Explorer Series) (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries)) by Jeannie K. Fulbright
Exploring Creation With Astronomy (Young Explorer Series) (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries)) by Jeannie K. Fulbright
The Heavens Proclaim His Glory: A Spectacular View of Creation Through the Lens of the NASA Hubble Telescope by Thomas Nelson
The Heavens Proclaim His Glory: A Spectacular View of Creation Through the Lens of the NASA Hubble Telescope by Thomas Nelson
The Work of His Hands by Jeffrey N. Williams
The Work of His Hands by Jeffrey N. Williams
The Astronomy Book (Wonders of Creation) by Jonathan Henry
The Astronomy Book (Wonders of Creation) by Jonathan Henry

More of Our Favorite Christian Resources on the Solar System

Exploring Creation With Astronomy (Young Explorer Series) (Young Explorer (Apologia Educational Ministries)) by Jeannie K. Fulbright is the best Christian textbook written for elementary aged children that covers astronomy. If you would prefer to only have one book for this entire unit, this is the best option for you. It is written using a dialogue style (as if the author was speaking to you) and has activities for each chapter. The Heavens Proclaim His Glory: A Spectacular View of Creation Through the Lens of the NASA Hubble Telescope by Thomas Nelson is a coffee-table worthy book that has breath-taking photos taken of our universe using the Hubble telescope along with a Bible verse and/or Christian quote related to the photo. The Work of His Hands by Jeffrey N. Williams is similar, but it includes photos taken by Colonel Jeffrey N. Williams while he was aboard the International Space Station in 2006. The Astronomy Book (Wonders of Creation) by Jonathan Henry could be used as a textbook if you have middle or high school aged children. My 11 year old son really enjoys "The Wonders of Creation" series. This is written like a textbook, but it is written from a Christian perspective. We learned so much through this series! Also look for the book Taking Back Astronomy: The Heavens Declare Creation by Jason Lisle and the DVD Created Cosmos: As Presented in the Creation Museum.

Ready for the Next Lesson?

Sun Cookies from Lesson 3: Comets, Asteroids, Meteors, Stars, & Constellations
Sun Cookies from Lesson 3: Comets, Asteroids, Meteors, Stars, & Constellations
Looking for all of my unit studies and lessons?
Looking for all of my unit studies and lessons?

Make planet pizzas as you study planets, form the lunar phases using Oreo cookies as you study the moon, study and paint Van Gogh's "Starry Night " as you study stars, build and blast off rockets as you study space exploration, make presentations on individual planets, and more during this 4 part hands-on unit study on the solar system.

Solar System Lesson - This is part 1 of a 4 part hands-on unit on Astronomy. Make planet pizzas, take a planet walk, and more in this exciting lesson on our fascinating solar system!

The Sun and the Moon Lesson - This is part 2 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Astronomy. Form the lunar phases using Oreo cookies, drop balls in flour to make a crater-filled lunar surface, recreate Galileo's famous gravity experiment, and more!

Comets, Asteroids, Meteors, Stars, & Constellations - This is part 3 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Astronomy. Make a comet, study and paint Van Gogh's "Starry Night," decorate a cookie to learn the parts of the sun, form asteroids out of mashed potatoes, assemble constellations using marshmallows, and more!

Astronauts, Rockets, and Space Ships Lesson - This is part 4 of a 4 part hands-on unit on Astronomy. Make rockets, try out astronaut tasks, make and eat a spacecraft, and more in this fun lesson on space exploration!

Astronomy Presentations and Field Trip Ideas - This is the culminating activity we did after a 4 part hands-on unit on astronomy. We held a star-gazing party and dinner. The children each presented on an assigned planet and they sang the astronomy songs we've been learning during our unit. Also included are the field trips we took during this unit.

Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Over the years I have posted over 40 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 170 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, Medieval Period, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources.

What You Aren't Being Told About Astronomy

This is a fabulous lecture with mostly powerpoint slides and talking that discusses how each of the planets shows us the handiwork of God. This is part one in the series. To see the other parts go to

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2wlSDV1ut0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjfU9A5N3iY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhmnJrNA23s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhDwM6KfGyw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0NQdQD1W2Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2N2HqO6iKU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFO2Hm3tbZ0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPsGSKHhzOM


Need More Activity Ideas?

Check These Great Free Websites with plenty of activity ideas, lessons plans, worksheets, and more!

*Because hubpages limits my live links that I can include, you'll have to cut and paste the below links in order to visit the wonderfully helpful sites.

Solar System Activities provides activities such as how to make models of planets, galaxies, & universe. http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1996/6/96.06.06.x.html

Holt's The Planets Music Lesson includes questions to ask as you listen to Holt's The Planets CD. http://www.coreknowledge.org/mimik/mimik_uploads/lesson_plans/820/Astronomy Mythology and Music.pdf

Solar System Unit & Worksheets offers a free unit including some helpful fill-in-blank worksheets. http://www.ckcolorado.org/units/3rd_grade/3_Astronomy2005.pdf

Astronomy Unit for 3rd Grade provides a free hands-on unit study on astronomy geared toward a 3rd grade classroom setting. http://www.ckcolorado.org/units/3rd_grade/3_Astronomy2005.pdf

Lapbook Resources for Space includes free lapbook pages and activity ideas to compliment your lessons on space. http://hubpages.com/education/spacelapbook

Scale Models of Planets helps you to calculate how large each scale model should be when creating a model of the solar system. http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/

Konos Volume 1
Konos Volume 1

Konos Curriculum

Would you like to teach this way every day?

Konos Curriculum

I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children! You can even watch free on-line videos as Jessica, one of the co-authors of Konos, walks you through a unit. (Look for the Explanation Videos tab.)

Konos Home School Mentor

If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2011 iijuan12

If you could visit a planet, which one would you visit? - Or just leave me a note. I love getting feedback from you!

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    • iijuan12 profile image
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      iijuan12 3 years ago from Florida

      @Babu Mohan: That would be quite an experience! Thank you for dropping by!

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      Mohan Babu 3 years ago from Chennai, India

      Saturn and preferably walking on the rings.

      I know walking on the rings is an absurd idea but when I can fantasise a visit to Saturn why not include a walk on the rings!!

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      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @TanoCalvenoa: Thank you for visiting!

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      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Mars.

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      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @lionmom100: Thank you!

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      lionmom100 4 years ago

      Avery nice lens. I would love to visit Mars.

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @paperfacets: That sounds like a great resource. Thank you!

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      Sherry Venegas 5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I love looking at Astronomy Picture of the Day by NASA. It might be a good information tool for you.

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @johnsja: Thank you!

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      johnsja 5 years ago

      This is a great resource for kids (and adults!). Thanks for sharing.

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @happynutritionist: Thank you so much!

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      happynutritionist 5 years ago

      I think I'm happy with my feet firmly planted on earth looking up at the planets:-) Your children are blessed to have a teacher like you, and so is this lens.

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @CoolFool83: Thank you!

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      VeseliDan 5 years ago

      Thanks for this extrordinary lesson about solar system. Love to read it. *blessed*

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      CoolFool83 5 years ago

      I'd go to Mars if I could. Really cool lense.

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @Margaret Schindel: Thank you so much!!!

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @MatijaB LM: Thank you!

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @VeseliDan: Thank you so much!!!

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      MatijaB LM 5 years ago

      I will visit Mars.

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      Margaret Schindel 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      What a fabulously creative and engaging way to teach students about the solar system! Blessed!

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @WinWriter: Thank you so much!

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      WinWriter 5 years ago

      Very creative learning ideas. Those planet pizzas sound tasty! *Blessed *

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @getmoreinfo: Thank you so much!

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      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      I iike learning about the solar system, I featured you on my solar system craft activities lens.

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      lovetolink 5 years ago

      Space is such a fascinating topic. Great lens! You might enjoy the fun Space Songs i've found. :)

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @sofyansodik: Thank you for dropping by!

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      sofyansodik 5 years ago

      my favorite planet is Saturn because have got a ring

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @verymary: Thank you!

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      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @DrBillSmithWriter: Thank you!

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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I'll stick with Earth, for now. Thanks. Good learning activities! ;-)

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      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      great work! *blessed*

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      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Excellent. You make learning fun -- and delicious!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Based on what I know about the planets in our solar system...um none of them! They are either way too hot or too cold (and dangerous) for me! I'd like to visit a habitable planet from another solar system!

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      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Who said education can not be great fun? Thumbs up!

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      Mozaika 5 years ago

      I love how you use pizza to teach about planets! Definitely a keeper. I can already see my kids begging to study some astronomy :)))

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      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Some great learning tips here. Well done.

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      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      your homeschool lesson plans are really amazing. great work

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      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What a fantastically fun idea - great work! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

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      Karen 6 years ago from U.S.

      My sons would've enjoyed this lesson plan when they were younger, especially with the different pizza planets! (They're grown now and out of the house....)

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      BestToysReviews 6 years ago

      Excellent ideas. Excellent lens :)

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      iQwestArticles 6 years ago

      I'm naturally drawn to the marvels and mysteries of the solar system and our two little ones have always been fascinated with the moon and stars! Since we often make homemade pizza for "fun dinner night" on Friday, this will be fun to try!!!

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      frances lm 6 years ago

      I'm not a teacher but some really fun educational ideas here that any parent could use.

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      tobydavis 6 years ago

      Fantastic lense! Soooo comprehensive! I love the attention to detail and to so many aspects of how to teach the children and engage them. The design of the lens makes it really easy to navigate and pick out the different sections: you have so many different types of information and you've arranged them all in a clear, simple fashion. Fab stuff!! :-)

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      99lucky 6 years ago

      This is our favorite subject at home...thanks for sharing.

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      Donnette Davis 6 years ago from South Africa

      I love this lens. I am going to add your plexo to my Solar System Study lens also :)

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      mumsgather 6 years ago

      Me again! :) I've included this lens in my http://www.squidoo.com/science-games-and-activitie... lens.

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      mumsgather 6 years ago

      Your pizza planets are such a novel idea!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I would visit saturn, I love the ring I would be very safe there.

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      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      Very informative and great looking lens. Awesome job!

      If you have time maybe you can visit our lens: Homeschooling 101: Guide to Free Curriculum and Other Resources.

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      Jimmie Lanley 6 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      You just got a "Lucky Leprechaun Blessing" from a SquidAngel who really loves your lens. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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      moonlitta 6 years ago

      I love your idea of pizza planets, and wish someone had thought of it when I was learning astronomy!

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      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      Ilike the idea of cooking and teaching astronomy. Greatway to teach!

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      Khalid-Osman 6 years ago

      Nice lens. I liked it. Thanks

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      Jimmie Lanley 6 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Very cool lens. I see that you really like cooking projects for learning! :-) Fun. and Yummy.