Third graders are facinated by planets and other astronomy ideas.

*Third graders* are ready to learn basics about the solar system, planets and other astronomy concepts. Your enthusiasm as you help students understand that outer space really isn’t “out there” will be contagious. Students will be captivated by the idea that their home Earth resides a member of an astronomical family called the solar system. Use activities to help students to absorb information more effectively. Third graders respond to memory games and challenges for appropriate rewards.

## Order of the Planets

Teach students where the planet Neptune fits into the *solar system*.

Students can learn the order of the planets in the solar system with a simple memorization activity. Write the following vertically on the board with “Mr.” on one line and each letter after on separate lines. “Mr. Vem J. Sun and his dog, Pluto.” Next to each letter, write, in order, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Let the children practice memorizing the information for homework.

The next day, give a short quiz. On one side of a sheet of paper, list the planets in random order. Beside each planet, put space for an answer. Number the spaces 1-though-10. Ask the students to enter the planets in the spaces according to their order beginning with the planet closest to the Sun. (You can include Pluto, if you like).

## Space Words

Terms such as “moon” can teach children to alphabetize.

Use basic astronomy terms for children to practice alphabetizing and to familiarize them with the terms. Write on the board the terms, meteor, comet, astronomy, planet, galaxy, star, rings, nebula, gravity and moon. Place a numbered blank beside each term. Ask the students to fill the terms in the blanks in *alphabetical order*. After reviewing the terms, divide the students into small groups to practice memorizing the alphabetical order of the terms. Ask students to recite the terms, telling them that each student who gets it right will receive an extra five points for the day’s grade.

## Earth

TheEarth is “home” and many other things.

Planet Earth provides an opportunity to teach students adjectives and nouns. The website, Enchanted Learning provides an adjective activity. Draw a large circle representing the Earth in the middle of the board. Around the Earth, draw eight *smaller circles*, attaching each by a line to the planet. Hang a picture of the Earth from space next to your drawings. Tell your students that the Earth is a thing and so it is a noun. Write “noun” inside the Earth drawing. Tell *your students that* the smaller circles describe the noun and are adjectives. Ask the children to brainstorm words describing the Earth. Give them one answer to get the ball rolling. Enter “blue” and “adjective” into one of the smaller circles.