Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Out of This World (Solar System)

Sue Jones


The students arrange the planets in the correct order by working in small groups, participating in a class discussion and by constructing a pictorial model of our Solar System.


The student knows the arrangement of the planets and the asteroid belt in our Solar System.


-Reference materials showing the parts of the Solar System
-Blackboard or dry erase board
-Markers (enough for each group of students)
-Chart Paper (enough for each group of students)
-Drawing Paper (one sheet for each student)


1. Gather all reference materials that are required for this lesson.
2. Preview all weblinks that you intend to use as a reference.
3. Gather the necessary material and prepare them for group work.
4. Prepare drawing paper for formative assessment.


Tell students: Today you will create a pictorial model of our Solar System.

1. Ask the students to identify the planets and asteroid belt of our Solar System. Review the planets in our Solar System. Stress the importance of their proper arrangement within the Solar System.

2. Explain to the students that they will work in small groups to create a sample model of our Solar System on chart paper. They are to provide each other with necessary peer feedback. Students will then return to their seats and participate in a class discussion about the sample charts they have just completed. Students will then create a pictorial model of our Solar System as an individual formative assessment.

3. Model the project on the blackboard to make sure that the students understand what they are expected to do. To do this, tape a piece of chart paper on the blackboard or wall. Explain to the class how you want them to draw the Solar System on the chart paper. Show the size that the completed project should be and where they should put their names.

4. Have each student choose a different color marker. (No one can write with that color marker, except that child.) Assign one of each color marker to a group. Students will write their names at the bottom of their charts with their color markers. With this method the teacher can see exactly how much and what each student contributed to their group.

5. Arrange the students in small groups. Distribute reference materials, chart paper, and markers. Encourage groups to use the entire space available on their chart paper and to discuss their observations as they work within their groups.

6. Circulate among the groups providing affirmative and corrective feedback when appropriate. They will also observe self and peer assessments.

6. Have students return to seats.

7. Involve students in a discussion providing appropriate feedback.

8. Distribute the drawing paper and markers for students to complete their individual pictorial models of our solar system for a formative assessment.


As a formative assessment the students complete a pictorial model of our Solar System showing the proper arrangement of the planets and the asteroid belt.


This lesson can be modified for ESE students by:
Providing a handout listing the items to be drawn on their pictorial model.
Provide additional time to complete the finished project.
Provide additional guidance when needed.

Web Links

This site provides an overview of the history, mythology, and current knowledge of the Solar System
Nine Planets

This is a NASA overview of our Solar System.
Our Solar System

Information on individual planets with beautiful photographs.
Planets Alive

This is a tour of our Solar System.

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.