Welcome to a series of ten lessons on planet research! This set of lessons is part of a larger unit my district is implementing all about the topics of space and books with great word choice. My grade level completes a research report or project for each of our six thematic units. This happens to be the fifth research project my students are completing this year.
I loved completing these lessons because none of my students' reports came out the same - even those who researched the same planet! The design of this unit was inquiry-based, so students chose the direction of their report. Some were interested in the history of their planet - how it got its name, who discovered it, etc. Others wanted to know if there were features similar to Earth, or why their planet had so many moons.
I've included the Planet Research Packet in this section of my lesson on each day. I refer to page numbers as I walk you through each day of this series of lessons, however I left page numbers off, in case there were pages you didn't want to use. You may notice that my student samples vary slightly from the packet I've provided for you. I made changes to the packet as I noticed things that could be made better. I hope you and your astronomers find these resources helpful as you research planets! Thank you! (See Resource File: Planet Research Packet)
*Clipart in my lesson picture purchased from ScribbleGarden on Etsy.
Today, the students will begin drafting their facts into a paragraph on their Planet Report Rough Draft page, which is page seven in the packet (Packet located in the above section). I begin by reading through all of the checkboxes on the page, so the students get the big idea of drafting our paragraph. I then model a sample for the planet Venus. I also supply some transition words on the board for students to borrow, or come up with their own. I make sure to use interesting words, like the students will from their Cosmically Cool Words page. We review, and make my writing better - you'll notice some things we inserted. (See Resource File: Teacher Rough Draft Sample)
Before the students begin, I tell them that we have the remaining time today, but also tomorrow to draft our paragraphs. I also ask them to raise their hands after they have their title, and first sentence complete, so I can check and make sure they're on the right track. Lastly, I have them leave their "Cosmically Cool Words" out for reference while drafting. I make my way around the room, as students raise their hands to get checked, assisting as needed. (See Resource Files: Student Rough Draft Samples)
Students use their writing folders to organize their materials and note their place in the writing process. Please read my reflection and watch the short video for an explanation. (See Resource File: Planet Research Day 6 Video)
Here are some additional resources you may find helpful if you're working on a space-themed unit.
Do We Wish Upon a Shooting Star, or Falling Rock?: This document is an informational passage that includes multiple choice questions. My students need practice with these types of questions, including those with multiple answers, questions with Part A and Part B, and fill in the blank. I teach in Illinois, and our students will be taking the PARCC Assessment beginning next year. I hope these types of tasks will help prepare my students for these tests, as well as our end-of-unit assessments, and overall mastery of the standards. The focus of this assignment are standards RI3.1, RI3.4, and RI3.7. (See Resource File: Shooting Star, or Falling Rock MC Practice)