Saturday, April 7, 2012


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Student number

Topic Our Solar System

Level 4 Year 5 / 6.

Class/ Nature of group 5 mixed ability boys and girls.

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Unit plan

Aim of the Unit

By completing this unit, students will be able to

- name the planets of our solar system,

- describe the planets in terms of their distinguishing features, and

- describe the relative sizes of the planets and their distances from the sun.


Curriculum and Standards Framework II (CSFII)- Science

p5 Earth and space sciences, Our place in space

4. Compare characteristics of members of our solar system.

The Unit is divided into three parts; these may take longer than one lesson each

1. Research task. Using the library, reference books or numerous Internet web-sites, students are required, in small groups of 4 or 5, to research the planets of our solar system to collect data.

. Data input. This data is then logged into an excel spreadsheet by the students and comparisons are made between the planets.

. Data Analysis and Presentation. The comparative data is then analysed, and the students(in their groups) choose to either

i) Make a model of the solar system, showing the relative sizes of the planets and their distances from the Sun, or

ii) Create a PowerPoint presentation, designed as a ‘space’ tourist brochure or for information only, or

iii) Create a poster, showing the relative sizes of the planets and their distances from the Sun.


Behavioural objective

Following small group work and collaboration with the whole class, students will input and analyse data using Excel, to compare the planets in our Solar system. Students will be able to answer a selection of questions in a quiz at the end.

Expressive objective

Students will gain an insight into their strengths and weaknesses, through their participation in a small group research task. Students will gain an understanding of our place in the Solar System.


The assessment is based on the contribution of the individual student to the group work. This is achieved through a self-assessment questionnaire, which is completed at the end of the group sessions.

An example of both self-assessment questionnaire is included in the Appendix.

Suggested Lesson Plan Outlines

Lesson 1

The teacher

1. Introduces the Unit.

. Organises the class into mixed-ability groups of 5 students.

. Explains to the groups how to assign research roles to its members. They will be aided by a prepared worksheet (Worksheet 1, refer Appendix). Students will have access to the computer, Internet and reference books about the planets and the solar system.

4. Provides a prepared list of Internet sites for the students to use in their research and host of Reference books for use in the classroom.

5. Gives the students time to complete a self-assessment questionnaire (an example in the Appendix), at the end of the group session.

6. Combines the data collected from the various groups to form one, Class data set.(example in the Appendix)

Lesson (in the computer lab.)

1. Using the class data set, group members delegate data-input tasks to different students, based on the 5 questions from the worksheet provided (refer worksheet , Appendix)

. Groups check the data input and analyse the data using Excel, to answer the questions on the worksheet. (refer worksheet , Appendix)

. Students complete self-assessment questionnaire, at the end of the group session.

4. Whole class combines and discusses their findings and a class set of results (refer Appendix for an Answer Sheet) is obtained. Students may form into new groups, based on which form of presentation they prefer to be involved in, to present the data collected to the class.

Lesson and 4

1. Students, working in their presentation group, either

a) Construct their model of the Solar System, or

b) Design and complete their PowerPoint presentation.

A worksheet (see Appendix) is provided to the group on how to delegate tasks to its members ie. Collection of pictures to use, Collection of sounds to add, Voice recording (if required), Text input, Layout design etc., or

c) Create a large poster, describing the different planets and showing their relative distances from the sun, or

d) Participate in a Performance of the Planets (illustrating to the class, visually and through physical movement, the differences in sizes, distances from, and the actions of the Planets as they orbit around the Sun.)

. Students complete self-assessment questionnaire, at the end of the group session(s).

Lesson 5

1. Students, in-groups, present their work (presentations and mobiles) to the class.

. Quick quiz on the Solar System.


Although I was not able to complete any of these lessons during my teaching rounds to date, I believe they would be well received by the students. I believe that Space is a unit that is enjoyed by and fascinates both genders.

This Unit has lots of hands-on activities (applicable to this developmental stage, as suggested by Piaget). The unit involves technology, through the use of the computer, for research and data analysis and also as an elective for presentation. The group work caters for the mixed-ability class and enables students to achieve at their own level, in an environment that is supported by the teacher and their peers. The Unit also caters for different interests and the variety of multiple intelligence (Gardiner) within the students, through the different choices offered for data presentation.


Our Solar System.

A group PowerPoint presentation. Name


Group Members

It will be everyone’s job to complete the PowerPoint presentation.

1. Elections.

Elect a group leader. Leader’s name

It is this person’s job

- To make sure that all tasks allocated are completed on time.

- To make sure everyone in the group has this sheet.

- To ensure that two of the following are allocated to each member of the group, for them to complete the slide summaries

ɨ Sun Names

ɨ Mercury

ɨ Venus

ɨ Earth

ɨ Mars

ɨ Jupiter

ɨ Saturn

ɨ Uranus

ɨ Neptune

ɨ Pluto

Decide for your group, which jobs you, need done and who will do them

1. Elect a person (s) to type in all the data.

Typist’s name(s)

. Elect a person(s) to find pictures to use in the presentation.

Picture-finder(s) name(s)

. Elect a person(s) to find sounds to use in the presentation.

Sound person(s) name(s)

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