Solar System Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Launch a unit on the solar system with this lesson plan. Students will define terms and learn about the sun, moon, planets, and other features. Follow up with a fun activity to boost comprehension.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define key terms
  • demonstrate an understanding of the solar system
  • differentiate between stars, moons and planets


45 minutes to 1 hour


  • Art supplies as needed for activity

Key Vocabulary

  • solar system
  • asteroid
  • comet
  • meteoroid
  • sun
  • moon
  • terrestrial planets
  • Jovian planets
  • binary system
  • star
  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
  • gravitational field

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.


  • Play the video lesson Solar System Overview. Allow students to copy key vocabulary words (bolded) and define as the lesson plays. Note: The definitions will repeat during the summary. Or, print copies of the transcript and allow students to highlight during the video.
  • Pause at 2:29 and allow students to sketch the solar system.
  • Play the remainder of the video. Discuss:
    • How is the solar system like a neighborhood?
    • Why would it be bad to have two suns?
    • In our solar system, why does the sun 'rule'?
    • How are terrestrial and Jovian planets the same? Different?
    • Which planets have no moons? Which have many moons? Why is this?
    • What is the difference between a meteoroid, meteorite and meteor?


  • Divide students into groups of 10-12. Tell students they will be creating a human representation of the solar system. They should work together as a group to decide:
    • What aspects they want to include.
    • How they will represent these aspects.
    • What role each person will play.
  • Encourage team work and equal input. Allow students to sketch their ideas on chart paper, then use art supplies to enhance their representation.
  • Circulate the room to support and encourage students.
  • Demonstrate at the end of class. Encourage students to support and evaluate one another. Take photos to display.
  • As an exit slip, ask students to name their favorite part of the solar system and explain why.


  • Help students recall vocabulary by having them create a memory card game with words and definitions.
  • Investigate the phases of the moon. Have students sketch and record the moon for a month.
  • Have students research each planet in depth. What do we know about these planets?

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