Lesson 3
A Map of Space


  • Students will name the celestial bodies that make up our solar system.
  • Students will use symbols to make a living map.
  • Students will draw a simple map that shows the positions of the planets in relation to the sun.
Time Required:
  • 2-one hour sessions
  • sun, distance, farthest, closest
  • one large, yellow balloon
  • nine smaller, different-colored balloons
  • chart or chalkboard
  • marker or chalk
  • index cards
  • tape
  • drawing paper
  • pencils and crayons
  • The Golden Book Encyclopedia CD-Rom
  • KidPix
  • Learn more about the solar system at Solar System NASA 
  • Revisit K-W-L and write new information students have learned.
  • Ask students what in the sky gives the Earth light and heat.  Remind students that the sun is very hot and important to the Earth.  Explain to students that the sun is the center of our solar system, and we could not live without it.  (Stress that the sun and the planets are far away from one another.)
  • Blow up the large, yellow balloon to represent the sun.  Choose one student to stand and hold the yellow balloon.  Write the word sun on an index card and tape it to the balloon.  Choose nine more students to hold different-colored balloons representing the nine planets.  Write the names of the planets on index cards and tape one to each balloon.  Blow the balloons up in different sizes. (Use large balloons for large planets and small balloons for small planets.)
  • Place students holding the planet balloons in the correct order of distance from the sun.
  • Ask other students what planet is closest to the sun, what planets are closest to the Earth, and what planet is farthest from the sun.
  • Pair students and distribute drawing paper, crayons, and pencils.
  • Students will use the Golden Book Encyclopedia CD-Rom to learn more about the solar system, to see what the planets look like, and to review where the planets are in relation to the sun.
  • Have students use the information to draft maps of the solar system in pencil in the correct order; students can also use the draw/paint application of software to draw plants. They can use rulers on the Tool Bar to measure distance.
  • Students will use KidPix to make a map of space placing the planets in correct order from the sun.
  • Students will label the planets and the sun correctly.
Extension Activity:
  • Visit Kid's NASA- Weight and find the gravity of each planet and figure out how much you weigh in a planet of your choice.  (Students will need to use a calculator)  You may also visit Kids NASA- Puzzles for easier calculations.
Home Learning:
  • Students will figure out how much their parents weigh in a planet of their choice.