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Mobile Planetarium Shows

Free Lesson Plans

LP2 R2 Alien Space Journey Story
LP3. Motion of the Earth and planets in the Solar System
LP3 R1: Instructions for the “Solar System” demonstration

For this activity, you will need some space (consider doing it on the playground or in the sports hall). First, divide your class into 3 groups. If you have 30 pupils in the class, there will be 10 children in each group (8 to represent planets, 1 to represent the Sun and 1 to lead the presentation).

Tell each group that their task is to demonstrate the motions in the Solar System as accurately as possible, taking into consideration the order of the planets, their distances from the Sun, the direction and speed of orbiting and spinning, the tilt of each planet etc.

The children representing planets will be using the models of planets they made earlier (the groups might need to exchange some planets or make new ones to make sure each group has a full set)

Allow 10-15 minutes for the groups to study the numbers and prepare their presentation.

After that the groups will take turns to demonstrate their live models of the Solar System while their presenters will be explaining the details.

(For example, the pupil representing the Sun will be standing in the middle turning on the spot in the counterclockwise direction, the pupil representing “Mercury” will be walking around the “Sun” with a model of his planet above his head. He will tilt the model as needed and spin it in the right direction with the right speed – his model of Mercury will need to make a full turn on its axis after it finishes one “orbit” around the “Sun”. The same with the rest of the planets. If doing it outside, tell the children they can draw the orbits of the planets on the ground with a chalk)

If teaching older children (or advanced class) encourage the children to not only demonstrate their own planet’s motion but to try and synchronize the motions of all the planets. So when the “Earth” finishes its orbit, “Mercury” should finish 4 orbits, Mars – half of the orbit, Jupiter move from 12 o’clock to 1 o’clock and Neptune only make a tiny step.

Useful websites / further reading -The offical NASA website – European Space Agency – BBC science of space Physics space topic – BBC KS2 Space education resources – BBC KS1 Earth and Space resources – UK Space Agency – Tim Peaks Journey to the ISS – Videos and games about the solar system – Up to date news on astronomy – Great site on space exploration – ROSCOSMOS is a Russian Space State Corporation – Full information guide to astronomy


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