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Solar System Activities
The lessons below are teacher-favorite lessons focused on our solar system. For more search options or to search by other science target, missions and other criteria, visit our Fast Lesson Finder. You can also search by curriculum standards on our popular Curriculum Standards Quilts.


Our Solar System Lessons:

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All About Ice
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), Spitzer (Our Solar System)

Short Description: In this suite of activities, students investigate ice, learn about its properties and explore how it can change states to a liquid or a gas. Through hands-on experiences, they observe ice, find its melting and freezing point, and learn about some of its unique properties, including that ice, the solid phase of water, is less dense than the liquid!


AstroVenture: Search for and Design a Habitable Planet
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Beyond Our Solar System, Europa
Mission: Galileo (Jupiter), Mars 2020 (Mars), MAFL (Mars), MSL / Curiosity (Mars)

Short Description: Students roleplay NASA occupations, as they search for and build a planet with the necessary characteristics for human habitation. Atmospheric science is one of several modules, and includes nine lessons.


Dwarf Planets as a New Way of Thinking About an Old Solar System
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Dwarf Planets, Pluto, Ceres
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets)

Short Description: This activity utilizes a researched-based instructional strategy called direct vocabulary instruction to help students understand the new definitions of planet and dwarf planet.


Exploring Ice in the Solar System - Unit 1
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Comets, Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud, Earth's Moon, Europa, Pluto, Ceres
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MESSENGER (Mercury), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets), Rosetta (Comets)

Short Description: Examine the importance of water in the form of ice in the solar system. From hands-on experiences with ice, the unit moves on to investigating ice in everyday life, in polar regions on Earth, and throughout the solar system.


Exploring Ice in the Solar System - Unit 2: The Voyage Continues
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Comets, Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud, Earth's Moon, Europa, Pluto, Ceres
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MESSENGER (Mercury), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets), Rosetta (Comets)

Short Description: The Voyage education unit uses the remarkable power of models to provide an understanding of Earth's place in the Solar System and the Sun's place among the stars.


Exploring Ice in the Solar System - Unit 3: The Voyage Continues
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Comets, Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud, Earth's Moon, Europa, Pluto, Ceres
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MESSENGER (Mercury), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets), Rosetta (Comets)

Short Description: The Voyage Continues education unit continues the exploration of the Solar System using the power of models to take a closer look into Solar System objects and phenomena.


Exploring Meteorite Mysteries: Lesson 10-Building Blocks of Planets
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Asteroids, Meteors & Meteorites
Mission: Dawn (Dwarf Planets), DSN (Our Solar System)

Short Description: In Activity A students will observe and describe chondrite meteorites. In Activity B they will experiment with balloons and static electricity to illustrate the theories about how dust particles collected into larger clusters. In Activity C students will manipulate magnetic marbles and steel balls to dramatically illustrate the accretion of chondritic material into larger bodies like planets and asteroids.


Exploring the Earth's Magnetic Field
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: This is a workbook of 23 activities spanning the needs of K-12 teachers who want to discuss Earth's magnetism in varying degrees of detail. Chapters 2-3 contain 11 activities for high school students. It includes web-based activities, and a variety of hands-on experiments with magnets and electromagnetism.


Ice in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Earth's Moon
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), MESSENGER (Mercury)

Short Description: Students examine different types of ices, discover where these different ices occur in the solar system, how scientists determine what ice is where, meet some of the scientists who are exploring these ice worlds, and explore why their work is so important!


In the Footsteps of Galileo: Observing the Moons of Jupiter
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Jupiter, Europa
Mission: Juno (Jupiter)

Short Description: Students learn about the scientific method and do a simplified version of Galileo's pioneering observations of Jupiter's moons, which similarly supported a new model of our solar system.

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Last Updated: 5 May 2014