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Solar system patterns and movement

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Keywords: collaboration, special education, special needs, planets, Solar system, Space, peer editing
Subject(s): Special Needs, Science, Social Skills, Writing, Reading
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Eastmont Middle school, Sandy, UT
Planned By: Melinda Miller
Original Author: Melinda Miller, Sandy
This lessons covers many Utah state standards. Some are:
Standard 6.1.1
Develop and use a model of the Sun-Earth-Moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the Sun and Moon, and seasons.
Reading: Informational Text Standard 1
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Reading: Informational Text Standard 10
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 68 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Writing Standard 4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 13 above.
Writing Standard 10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Standard 6.V.CR.5:
Design or redesign objects, places, or systems that meet the identified needs of diverse users.
Standard 6.V.CR.6:
Reflect on whether personal artwork conveys the intended meaning, and revise accordingly.

Over the course of this lesson, and this unit, students will watch videos of planets moving, videos of what takes place on each planet and how their movement affects them, videos of the sun, its movement and how that effects it and the planets, read articles about inner and outer planets and what defines them, hear testimonies from astronauts about visiting space and planets, write about visiting other planets, create an argument convincing NASA to send a rover or space shuttle to a planet or location in space, and finally, create a multi-media Project about a space topic.

Students will also explore the technology that astronauts, NASA, and other space workers use to explore space in person or from afar. They will brainstorm how to make a tool better or make a new tool. They will try to "sell" this tool to their peers (NASA employees).

The parts of this lesson/unit will have room for individual research and work but also group work. Students will need technology not only to watch the videos and hear testimonies of space workers, but also create the projects and write essays.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Students working through this lesson and unit will increase their skills that will benefit them in many other subjects and also in life outside of the classroom. They will increase their skills of reading, writing, research, appropriate and fact based arguments, critical thinking, collaboration, peer editing, and planning.
After editing or designing their own tool, I can have them create the tool on a graphic design/computer program or with their hands using play doh, wood, legos, or paper.
Materials: Middle, Headsets, CDs and DVDs, Video Tools, Art Tools, Wacom Tablets, Animation, Hardware Devices