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This unit is a study of the solar system and our place within that system. Students will first explore the structure of the solar system as a whole, as they learn about the relative distances of the planets from the sun, as well as their relative sizes. Students will also learn about the orbit and rotation of planets. In the second part of the unit, students will learn facts and characteristics about each planet of the solar system, including Earth. It is through this teacher-directed study that they will obtain an overview of all the planets. In the final part of the unit, students will work independently or in pairs and complete a study on one planet. They will work towards writing a paragraph that compares this planet to Earth. It is through this more in-depth study that students will begin to have an understanding of our place in the solar system and how our planet compares with others.
This unit was developed for students at a first-grade level but may be adapted for a second- or third-grade classroom. It is specifically designed with second language learners in mind, focusing on vocabulary building and implementation of sheltered content strategies.
(Recommended for Science, grades 1 and 2)