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The Solar System | ESL/EFL Lesson Plan

Level: Intermediate
Topic: Solar System
Aim of the lesson: Writing about our solar system
Length of the lesson: 45 minutes

Content:

Lead-in (5 minutes)

What is Earth? How do you call it in your language?
How many planets orbit the Sun?

Unlocking vocabulary (10 minutes)

The Solar System | ESL/EFL Lesson Plan

Match the words with their definitions.

Solar system – the Sun and everything that goes around it
Orbit – To move or travel around something
Planet – A celestial body moving around a star
Asteroid – Small celestial body of maximum 480 miles in diameter
Celestial – belonging to the universe

Listening (10 minutes)

The solar system contains the Sun and all the objects that orbit around it. These objects are planets, asteroids, comets, and other celestial objects. It was formed more than 4 billion years ago and contains eight planets. The closest four planets to the Sun are rocky planets and the other four are made of gas and are much bigger. The rocky planets, which are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, are called the inner planets because they are closer to the Sun while the other four planets, which are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, are called the outer planets because they are much further from the Sun. Between the fourth and the fifth planet there is an asteroid belt made of a huge number of asteroids of different shapes. The hottest planet is Venus although it is not the closest planet to the Sun, the closest planet to the Sun is Mercury. The eight planets have at least 176 moons. The Sun is the biggest object in our solar system and you can fit one million Earths inside it.

Answer the questions by marking the correct answer with “C”. (5 minutes)

How old is our solar system?
Almost 4 billion years old
4 billion years old
Between 4 and 5 billion years old (C)

What is in the center of our solar system?
The asteroid belt
The Sun (C)
The Earth

How many inner planets are there in our solar system?
Four (C)
Five
Eight

How many outer planets are there in our solar system?
Four (C)
Five
Eight

What is the hottest planet in our solar system?
Mercury
Venus (C)
The Sun

Where is the asteroid belt?
Between Jupiter and Saturn
Between Earth and Mars
Between Jupiter and Mars (C)

How many known moons are there in our solar system?
167
176 (C)
196

Writing (15 minutes)

Write using your own words everything you have learned about the solar system.

FOR TEACHERS

Lead-in

Asking questions about the solar system might look simple but it is not. They probably never heard the word “Earth” before. Choose the questions you want to ask them and prepare pictures. I did it with 10 year old learners (Vietnamese) and it went really well. They seem to enjoy learning about these things and definitely they enjoyed watching the photos I showed them.

Unlocking vocabulary

Teach them vocabulary using a picture of the solar system. You may want to help them pronouncing correctly the names of the eight planets.
Have on the whiteboard the matching exercise and ask learners to come to the board and draw lines between the words and their corresponding definitions. You may want to give them a few minutes to complete the task in pairs before coming to the board.

Listening

Have the picture of the solar system projected on the board while reading the text for your students. Point to the objects that you are reading about so they can understand better. Read for them twice (or even three times) before asking them to complete the multiple choice task.

Writing

Ask learners to write a short paragraph about our solar system using their own words. Tell them that they can use the multiple choice exercise for help.


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