ondering the Planets
external image Planet%20millennium.jpg


5-4-3-2-1-0... BLAST OFF! Look out your window! Can you spot Mars? How about Jupiter? Because the planets are so far away, they often seem very mysterious to us. That is why, this science unit we are spending time on learning about the planets. In this unit, each group will focus on one particular planet and, through presentations by your fellow classmates, learn the basics about the rest “alien” planets.

Tasks: (Both tasks must be completed by each group of students)

1) Create a brochure using Microsoft Publisher of what a visitor will encounter and learn on your planet.
2) Create a blog that has at least five entries about your experiences on your planet. Each student must also comment at least five times on blog(s) created by another group(s).


1) Find a fellow astronaut from your class to work with.
2) Your mission to your specific planet has already been assigned for you and your partner. Ask your captain (teacher) which planet you’ll be landing on.
3) Brochure: open up Microsoft Publisher on your computer. Pick the brochure option on the “getting started” screen. Pick the “accent box” design to make your brochure. The following are requirements for each of the pages but feel free to go above and beyond.

· Front page: Name of planet and students and picture of planet

· Page 1: History of the planet (when it was discovered, by whom, etc.)

· Page 2: Description of planet (color, landscape, size, etc.)

· Page 3: Location (distance from sun, distance from Earth, surrounding planets, etc).

· Page 4: Fun Facts (rings, named after something, etc.)

· Back page: Name, grade, and e-mail address.

· Please keep in mind there should be a maximum of two pictures per page. Be sure to attach your references.

4) Blog: open up Internet Explorer on your computer. Follow this LINK to create an account to blog.

A) Click “join now” and follow the steps to create your blog.

B) You and your partner can decide what you want for your username, yet it must pertain to your project. (Ex: NutsforNeptune) Click “create account.”

C) Choose the theme that you would like for your blog. You do not need to add a “welcome” post.

D) Once your blog is created, click on LINK and subscribe and add “PonderingThePlanets” as a friend.

5) On the blog you created for your planet, you must post at least five entries describing the terrain of your planet, atmosphere, how far away from Earth it is, and emerging questions you have about your planet. Each post must contain between five to seven sentences.

6) On the “PonderingThePlanets” page your fellow classmates’ blogs will be listed. Subscribe to each other’s blogs so that you can comment on each other’s posts. You are required to comment on at least five other posts written by your classmates.






Illinois Learning Standards:

STATE GOAL 11: Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments and solve problems. A. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scien­tific inquiry. 11.A.2a Formulate questions on a specific science topic and choose the steps needed to answer the questions. 11.A.2b Collect data for investigations using scientific process skills including observing, estimating and measuring. 11.A.2c Construct charts and visualizations to display data. 11.A.2d Use data to produce reasonable explanations. 11.A.2e Report and display the results of individual and group investigations.

STATE GOAL 12: Understand the fundamental concepts, principles and interconnections of the life, physical and earth/space sciences. F. Know and apply concepts that explain the composition and struc­ture of the universe and Earth’s place in it. 12.F.2a Identify and explain natural cycles and patterns in the solar system (e.g., order of the planets; moon phases; seasons as related to Earth’s tilt, one’s latitude, and where Earth is in its yearly orbit around the sun). 12.F.2c Identify easily recognizable star patterns (e.g., the Big Dipper, constellations).

STATE GOAL 5: Use the language arts to acquire, assess and communicate information.
A. Locate, organize, and use infor­ma­tion from various sources to answer questions, solve problems and communicate ideas. 5.A.2a Formulate questions and construct a basic research plan 5.A.2b Organize and integrate information from a variety of sources (e.g., books, interviews, library reference materials, web- sites, CD/ROMs). B. Analyze and evaluate information acquired from various sources. 5.B.2a Determine the accuracy, currency and reliability of materials from various sources. 5.B.2b Cite sources used. C. Apply acquired information, concepts and ideas to communicate in a variety of formats. 5.C.2a Create a variety of print and non-print documents to communicate acquired infor­mation for specific audiences and purposes.


1. Creativity and Innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
a. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
Communication and Collaboration: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:
a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
c. Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
Research and Information Fluency: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
c. Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:
b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project
Digital Citizenship: Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:
a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
Technology Operations and Concepts: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:
b. Select and use applications effectively and productively

Planet Brochure Rubric

planet blog.docx


Welcome back Houston! How was your journey? We hope you enjoyed your excursion into the great beyond. Now that you have learned a galaxy of information about the different planets of our solar system, you have begun your journey in becoming an astronaut!

Google Image Result for Http:www.st-andrews.ac.uk/media/Planet Millennium.jpg." Google Images. Web. 17 Mar. 2010. <http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http:www.st-andrews.ac.uk/media/Planet%2520millennium.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/Title,17143,en.html&usg=__ScqSO2faIjY7eGYY4LkE4B6S44g=&h=383&w=479&sz=37&hl=en&start=8&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=DpY9a-L1XwWPDM:&tbnh=103&tbnw=129&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dplanets%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26tbs%3Disch:1>.