Solar System Gallery Walk Ideas

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Gallery walks can be an exciting way to get students involved in learning about different topics. This lesson offers gallery walk ideas that you can use to teach students more about the solar system.

Teaching With Gallery Walks

Are you trying to help your students become engaged in their learning about science? Maybe you are just testing out new instructional strategies, or maybe you sense that your students need to be encouraged to take on a more active role in their own learning. Either way, gallery walks can be a wonderful instructional tool for helping students work collaboratively and think critically.

In a gallery walk, you post different thought-provoking questions, diagrams, or student work in different places around your room. Then, students circulate, usually in groups. They read the questions and talk to one another or write down answers or ideas they have. Finally, you can bring students together for a discussion of what they got out of the experience and how it might connect to your future work together.

The gallery walk ideas in this lesson focus on helping students understand and think about the solar system, and you can modify any of these ideas to meet the needs of your specific students and curriculum.

Pictorial Gallery Walk

Many students are visual learners, and are best at assimilating new information when they have images to help them organize their understandings. The solar system is such a vast concept that images can be especially grounding and necessary for students who are trying to solidify their understanding.

Post pictures of different aspects of the solar system around your room. These can be sketches, diagrams or photographs, depending on exactly what you want your students to understand. Then, under each image, post the same three questions:

  • What do you see in this picture?
  • What do you think is happening in this picture, and how does it relate to what you already know about the solar system?
  • What does this picture help you learn or wonder about the solar system?

As students circulate, have them discuss or jot down thoughts related to the questions with regard to each of the images.

Gallery Walk of Questions

Sometimes, the best gallery walks can just be filled with questions that will prompt students to activate their prior understandings and to think critically. For this kind of gallery walk, you will probably want to write ten questions about the solar system and post them around your room. Questions should be open-ended. For instance, instead of asking, 'What are the planets of the solar system?' you might ask students to think about 'What characteristics seem to go into categorizing something as a planet?'

Categories for good questions might include:

  • questions about planets
  • questions about stars
  • questions about moons
  • questions about temperature or air quality
  • questions about space exploration
  • questions about movement and gravity

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