Fifth Grade Unit 2: Astronomy


ELA Standards

Writing 2.4 Write persuasive letters or compositions:

  • State a clear position in support of a proposal.
  • Support a position with relevant evidence.
  • Follow a simple organizational pattern.
  • Address reader concerns.

Earth Science Standards

5. The solar system consists of planets and other bodies that orbit the Sun in predictable paths. As a basis for understanding this concept:
  • a. Students know the Sun, an average star, is the central and largest body in the solar system and is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium.
  • b. Students know the solar system includes the planet Earth, the Moon, the Sun, eight other planets and their satellites, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets.
  • c. Students know the path of a planet around the Sun is due to the gravitational attraction between the Sun and the planet.

Critical questions to ask while teaching:

  1. Does the Sun go around the Earth, or does the Earth go around the Sun?
  2. Why is this (heliocentrism) important?

What they will understand at the end of the unit:

  1. Our Earth is part of a complex system of planets and other objects that make up the solar system, which is part of a galaxy, a super-group, and the universe.

Essential background they will need to start this unit:

Vocabulary Tier 2

  1. planet
  2. Earth
  3. system
  4. space
  5. telescope

Vocabulary Tier 3

  1. rotation
  2. revolution
  3. solar system:
  4. orbit
  5. heliocentric
  6. galaxy
  7. super-group
  8. universe
  9. asteroid
  10. comet
  11. unmanned space vehicle/spaceship
  12. manned space vehicle/spaceship
  13. planetary
  14. refraction
  15. reflection


  1. Skill 1

Materials to be used



Other Materials

BrainPopJr Space (4)
BrainPop (Many)
Radio Telescopes
Mizmercer's Favorite Links on 5unit2 from Diigo
PPT on Radio Telescopes

Assessment Evidence


  • Blog posts as we watch videos and do writing


Learning Activities

Week One/Two: Show Galileo video
  1. What was his idea?
  2. What was the conflict with his ideas?
  3. What was his problem?
  4. How did he deal with the problem?


Lesson 1: TAK of the prompt, and T-Chart outline of “big ideas”
Lesson 2: Write up big ideas
Lesson 3: T-Chart: Zeroing in on “tell me more”
Lesson 4: Topic sentence, and conclusions and the "Big Four"
Lesson 5: Write paragraph with topic sentence, big ideas and tell me more, and conclusion