Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Destination Outer Space

Michelle Barlow


This lesson allows students to use effective writing skills, their imagination, and their knowledge of the nine planets. Students use these three items as they create travel pamphlets to the planets in our solar system.


The student uses a variety of reference materials to gather information, including multiple representations of information for a research project (for example, maps, charts, photos).

The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, brainstorming, making lists, mapping ideas, grouping related ideas, keeping a notebook of ideas, observing surroundings, answering questions posed by others).

The student establishes a purpose for writing (including but not limited to explaining, informing, telling a story, making a request).

The student generally follows the conventions of punctuation, capitalization, and spelling appropriate at fourth-grade or higher level [see benchmark LA.B.1.2.3 for specifics].

The student knows characteristics of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.


-Sample travel pamphlets to other states, national parks, or other tourist attractions
-Charts and diagrams of our solar system
-Science text books and reference books about the solar system
-Paper and colored pencils for students


1. Gather enough sample travel pamphlets for each student to have one as a guide.
2. Gather charts, diagrams, and resource books about the solar system.
3. Duplicate enough copies of the grading rubric for each child. (See attached file.)
4. Secure paper (11 by 13 inches) and colored pencils for each child.


Day 1 (50 Minutes)

1. To gain students' attention, pass out a travel pamphlet to each student and ask them to take a few moments to look at their pamphlet.

2. Explain to students that travel pamphlets are used to inform people about different places that they might like to visit.

3. Lead a group discussion about what kind of information the students are able to learn from their travel pamphlets. Make sure to point out features such as, attractive photographs, maps to direct tourists to their destinations, and good written information about the place being advertised. Also, explain to the students that the pamphlets are neat in appearance, free of spelling mistakes, and free of punctuation mistakes.

4. Tell students that they are going to have the opportunity to use their creativity and writing skills to design a travel pamphlet for a trip through the solar system. Explain that they are to use facts that they know about the nine planets, and they are to include a diagram that shows the relative location of the planets in the solar system. Tell students that they should include a short but interesting description about each of the nine planets, as the tourists they are writing this for will be visiting each of the planets.

5. Have students begin this assignment by using the available charts and resource books to create notes that they will use in the actual pamphlet. Provide a sample of this on the board using the planet Earth as a guide for students. Show students how to use one of the resource books to gather notes and facts about earth. Also, tell students to write down the name of each book and any other resource they use to gather their information. Tell students that part of their grade will be determined by their use of resources to find facts to be used in their pamphlets and that they should use at least 3 sources to gather their information from.

6. Review common punctuation and remind students that they should check their final products for spelling and punctuation mistakes before they are turned in at the end of tomorrow's session.

7. Allow students the remainder of the class period to create their notes and rough drafts.

Day 2 (50 minutes)

1. Bring the class together with a short review of the information that was discussed the day before. Remind students that they are writing these pamphlets to provide information and that they are required to use at least three sources to help them.

2. Pass out paper that is 11 by 13 inches in measurement to each student. Make certain that every student has colored pencils as well.

3. Explain to students that they are now ready to create their travel pamphlets that are creative and full of factual information about our solar system. Remind students to include a diagram of our solar system that shows the relation of the planets to each other. Encourage students to use their colored pencils to create pictures to help add interest to their final product.

4.Tell students that the neatness of their project is also part of their grade, and that they need to edit their work for spelling and punctuation. Provide a short paragraph on the transparency and edit this with the class as a quick refresher for students (see the attached file for a sample paragraph to edit with your class).

5. Tell students that when they have completed this assignment to turn in their pamphlets and their prewriting notes with a list of the sources they used. Allow students the remaining time to work on their pamphlets.


Assess the pamphlets by using the grading rubric in the attached file. Students should be checked off on 6 of the 8 possible evaluation statements to satisfactorily complete this activity. Students who are having difficulty should receive corrective, formative feedback and additional opportunity to rework their pamphlets.


This lesson may be extended by allowing students to research their own community and create a travel pamphlet for the community in which they live.

This lesson can be modified for students who need the extra help by allowing them to work with a peer or in a small group to complete one pamphlet together , rather than on their own.
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