A 60 minute lesson designed to identify other celestial bodies present in the solar system.
Source and provide access to research materials for the main activity.
This lesson contains a link to an external video. Please watch the video prior to presenting this lesson to ensure that the content is appropriate for your students.
Ask the class to recall what solar system objects have been studied thus far. Revise the previous lessons on the sun, Earth and the planets. As a class, brainstorm any other objects or celestial bodies in the solar system. Record the students’ suggestions on the board.
Introduce the statement to be investigated: The solar system is composed of more than just the sun and planets.
Watch the video Solar System 101 in its entirety (note: content ends at 3:53). Encourage the students to take notes.
After the video, discuss the main points regarding other objects/regions of the solar system and write them on the board. Ensure students have the information recorded in their notebooks.
Asteroid belt – a flat disc of rocky objects orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter
Ceres – a dwarf planet located in the asteroid belt
Kuiper belt – a flat disc of rocks and ice that orbits beyond Neptune
Pluto – a dwarf planet located in the Kuiper belt
Comets – balls of ice that are pulled towards and around the sun, originating from the Kuiper belt and beyond.
Monitor and support the students as they work through the activity. The task can be completed by students individually, in small groups or as a jigsaw activity, with research topics either chosen independently or allocated by the teacher.
Gather the class together. Discuss and check the information collected for each of the objects and regions. Refer to the statement being investigated and decide whether it is true or false, using the information collected in the activity to support or refute it.
Add the words asteroid belt, Ceres, Kuiper belt, Pluto and comet to the Solar System Word Wall.
Collect the students’ worksheets. These could be included in a portfolio of work samples and used to assess the students’ understanding of the unit objectives.
Encourage more capable students to research a 'famous' comet and explain its journey through the solar system.
Less confident students can work in small groups with adult assistance.
Suggested Assessment Strategies
used strategic whole class or individual questioning
observed student participation during learning activities