Space Exploration: Characteristics of Planets

Space Exploration: Characteristics of Planets
Take a "stroll"' through the solar system to investigate Earth in the context of other celestial bodies in our solar system, including other planets and moons. Students will be led through a lesson on the characteristics of the planets, and how they compare to Earth. A special focus will be put on characteristics that allow for life, like the presence of liquid water and an atmosphere, and which planets or moons may have features that support life in some form either now or in the future.

Curricular Connections

Grade 7 - (9) ... describe the physical properties, locations, and movements of the Sun, planets, moons, meteors, asteroids, comets, Kuiper belt, and Oort cloud; ... analyze the characteristics of Earth that allow life to exist such as the proximity of the Sun, presence of water, and composition of the atmosphere
Astronomy - (11) … compare the planets in terms of orbit, size, composition, rotation, atmosphere, natural satellites, magnetic fields, and geological activity


Critical Thinking
Content Mastery
Physical Manipulation


Tour Through the Solar System (Planet characteristics focus)

Embark on an educational journey like never before with our immersive "Tour Through the Solar System" activity. In this teacher-led tour, students will experience the wonders of our cosmic neighborhood, gaining a deeper understanding of each planet and its unique characteristics as they compare to Earth.
Objective Description
Describing Celestial Body Characteristics Students will recognize and describe the characteristics of some of the planets and moons in our solar system.

Activity Bubbles: Ordering the Planets

In small groups, students will enter "activity bubbles" to engage in an interactive activity that allows them to pick up, move, and place the planets of the solar system in the correct order.
Objective Description
Order the Planets Students will describe the order of the planets in our solar system.

Scale in the Solar System

In this whole-class experience, students will be interacting with the planets of the solar system to create a more "to-scale" representation of their actual distances in space.
Objective Description
Recognize Scale of the Solar System Students will recognize with modeling a more accurate scale of the planets in the solar system.

Scavenger Hunt

A question-based scavenger hunt to assess student knowledge of concepts covered.
Objective Description
Describe Characteristics of Celestial Bodies Students will identify celestial bodies according to their characteristics.

Asteroid Dodgeball

Watch out for that asteroid! Get active and play a tag-like game called Asteroid Dodgeball. Divide into teams, hold your blaster, and launch asteroids at the other team! The team with the highest number of tags is the winner.