Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Out of This World (Language Arts)

Candace Parker
Bay District Schools


Groups of students research the planets of our Solar System and create a guidebook for travel through the Solar System.


The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling-correct use of punctuation, including commas in series, dates, and addresses, and beginning and ending quotation marks-correct paragraph indentation -correct usage of subject/verb agreement, verb and noun forms, and sentence structure and -correct formatting according to instruction.

The student uses electronic technology, including word-processing software and electronic encyclopedias, to create, revise, retrieve, and verify information.

The student knows that the planets differ in size, characteristics, and composition and that they orbit the Sun in our Solar System.


-Examples of printed travel guidebooks
-Electronic encyclopedias
-Books about the planets of our Solar System (personal collection or media center)
-Multimedia workstations with the access to the Internet
-Word processing or Publishing software
-Planet Fact Sheets (See attached file)
-Booklet Scoring Rubric (See attached file)
-A picture of the Solar System showing the sun and the nine planets


1. Locate a picture of the Solar System for display in the classroom.
2. Obtain a variety of travel guidebooks for use as examples.
3. Check out books about the Solar System from the school media center.
4. Research possible Web sites such as the ones listed in this lesson for student use.
5. Become familiar with a word processing software and a publishing software such as Microsoft Word or Publisher.
6. Prepare and make copies of the Solar System Fact Sheet.
7. Prepare and make copies of the Booklet Scoring Rubic. (See attached file.)


Before beginning this lesson, students should have studied about the planets and solar system. This lesson should be used to extend and to reinforce student knowledge of the solar system.

1. Display in the classroom a picture of the solar system showing the sun and the nine planets so that students can refer to it throughout the lesson.

2. Distribute a variety of travel brochures and guidebooks for students to browse through as the lesson is introduced.

3. Begin the lesson by telling students that suppose they just found out that it is now possible to go sightseeing in space. As students look through the examples of guidebooks, tell them that they have been selected to work in groups to design a travel guidebooks of the nine planets and sun of the solar system. Explain that these guidebooks will be used to advertise a trip that will be Out of This World!

4. Organize students into groups of five students. Tell each group that they are to design a solar system travel guidebook to share with the class. Each student in the group should decide on two different planets or the sun to research.

5. Give each student two fact sheet forms to complete. (See attached file.) Tell them to research their planets using books from the school media center, electronic encyclopedias such as Microsoft Encarta, or the Internet (such as those Web sites included in this lesson). This information should be recorded on their fact sheets.

6. After students have completed their fact sheets, tell them that they are to design a travel guidebook page for each planet and the sun using their completed fact sheets. Each group should put their pages together into a booklet format with a title page and a table of contents.

7. Review the use of a word processing software such as Microsoft Word and a publishing software such as Microsoft Publisher. Tell students that they should use one of these software programs to display their information from the solar system fact sheets.

8. Give each group a Booklet Scoring Rubic for students to use as a guide for this activity.

9. Each group should present their Solar System Travel Guidebook to the class.

10. Teacher will evaluate activity. (See Assessment.)


The assessment is product based. Each booklet should be scored using the Booklet Scoring Rubic. The criteria is: A = 12/12; B = 11/12; C = 10/12; D = 9/12; F = 8/12 or below


Students with learning disabilities or varying learner styles should be placed with regular class students when forming groups.

The Magic School Bus, the Solar System, produced by Microsoft could be used by groups who finished their guidebooks.

As a language activity, students could be asked to pretend that they are taking a Solar System trip and should record a journal of their imaginary experiences.

Attached Files

Solar System Fact Sheet     File Extension: pdf

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