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Science Lesson Plan Links: The Solar System, Grades 4-5

Science Lesson Plan Links: The Solar System, Grades 4-5


Name that Probe: Have students review the names of the probes in Journey Through Our Solar System, such as Pioneer, Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and New Horizons. Discuss the meanings of these words, the connections among them, and why they may have been chosen for exploration spacecraft. Have students create their own name for a probe, and describe where they would like to send it and what they would like to discover, perhaps creating a drawing with captions and labels to summarize their ideas.

Biography: Research to learn more about astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, coauthor of Journey Through Our Solar System and the first woman of color to travel to space. You can check out her website here: http://www.drmae.com and her organization’s website here: http://100yss.org/mission/purpose.

Timeline: Review the timeline on pp. 14-15. Have students use butcher paper to create an expanded timeline to include subsequent and current discoveries, using information from the text and the summaries on pp. 30-31 and 44.

Vocabulary: Using the vocabulary lists, have students group words into categories: planets, probes, people, tools, discoveries, descriptive/action words, vocabulary words, etc. Create word clouds and add to them. You may also include some words students used in their informational reports.

Writing Prompts:

  • If you could live on any other planet, which would you choose, and why?
  • What do you think is the most amazing space discovery to date, and why?
  • Do you think you would like to travel to space? Why or why not?
  • What do you think will be the next great space discovery?

Poetry: Read a poem about space, such as “Escape at Bedtime” by Robert Louise Stevenson, “The Moon” by Emily Dickinson, or “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” by Eugene Field. Students may write their own poems about space.

Photography: Study the various photographs in Journey Through Our Solar System. Discuss the importance of probes in helping us know more about our solar system, including our own planet and how it looks from space. Point out the differences among the photographs, illustrations, simulations, and other images used in the text.