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Learning Experience/Unit

Planetary Scientists in 1st Grade?!

Course, Subject

Science, Technology, English Language Arts (NYS P-12 Common Core)

Grade Levels

Elementary, 1st Grade


We designed this lesson for 1st graders to learn about our solar system. The school librarian and the 1st grade teacher worked together on this research/project lesson. Students used an online resource to gather their data. Then they created a model of the solar system using their research data. Finally, each student was interviewed to share their findings verbally with their classmates. 

Essential Question

When you look into the night sky, what do you see?  Why are they there? What can we learn about them?


1.  Students will be able to complete research on the solar system using an online database.

2.  Students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the solar system by constructing a planetary model.

3.  Students will be able to perform an interview assessment based upon their planet research.


Day 1 - In the library media center, introduce the project, the website and the research note form

Day 2 - In the library media center, students received their celestial body assignment (planet/sun/moon). The school librarian modeled using the website - Exploring Nature.  Each student then had time to start their research on their own computer.

Day 3 - Students continued to record their answers to their research questions.

Day 4 & Day 5 - The first grade teacher used the research note form to have each student create their own planet for the class model.

Day 6 - Each student was interviewed and video taped with the class model.  They used their research notes to answer the interview questions.


Student Work

5/2/12 - F.Y.I. - We tried to Upload the videos but they would not upload.


Low Work Space Doc - N.jpg


Middle Work Space Doc - A.jpg


Best Work Space Doc - B.jpg

Finished Project


solar system[1].JPG


Our assessment came in the form visual observation throughout the unit.

Materials and Resources

- One computer for each student (13)

- Overhead projector with SMARTboard

- Solar system research notesheet.

- Internet

- Website Exploring Nature

- Solar system model supplies. (10 styrofoam balls, paint, wooden dowels, clear overhead projector sheets cut to size)

- Dry erase markers

- Paper clips

- handheld video recorder.

Instructional and Environmental Modifications

The school librarian made arrangements to meet with several students in regards to completing the research notes.

The school librarian and teacher paired the two lower level students with other high level students that acted as positive academic models. 



Duration for this learning experience was about four weeks.

Library time: (4) 40 minute blocks

Additional individual student time: 15-20 minutes

Class time: two hour time to complete model

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