The Earth, a Planet
Guiding Question: If the earth is a planet, what makes a planet a planet?
Objective: Students will be able to identify what makes a planet a planet.
- Copies of blank Venn Diagram, or large group Venn Diagram on Smartboard
Vocabulary: Planet, Sun, Earth, Asteroid, Meteoroid, Comet, Moon, star
Make copies of the blank Venn Diagram
Activity - Prior Knowledge:
- Have the students complete a Quickwrite by completing this sentence: "A planet is...
- Tell the students that you are going to look at what a planet is...and is not...
- As a class, or in small groups, have students complete a Venn Diagram that compares and contrasts the earth, moon and sun...and their relationships.
Activity - New Knowledge:
- Review completed Venn diagram with the class
- Divide the students into groups of 2-4.
- Direct each student group to "research" what makes a planet a planet by exploring the characteristics of various space objects (asteroids, meteoroids, comets, dwarf planets, planets, moons, star).
- Upon completion of the research, give each student a pad of post-its
- Have the student groups write one characteristic of what a planet is on the post-its (one characteristic per post-it)...until they run out of characteristics
- Have a representative from each student group stick the post-its to a wall/whiteboard
- Have a student from each group read to the large group what was written on each of their group's post-its
- Choose several students to "categorize" the post-its by moving them into groups on the wall
- As a class, discuss the groupings...and develop a definition of a planet using the "grouped" post-its on the wall as a reference
Exit Slip: "What makes a planet a planet?"
Extension: Watch the short video What About Pluto, then pose this question to the students: "What does Pluto have in common with the planets...and what is different?"