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As you review the map and globe, explain that the earth consists of rocks, minerals, soil and landforms such as mountains. The earth is also covered with water, in the form of oceans, lakes and rivers. Discuss how the planet Earth is part of the solar system that circles around the sun. It is surrounded by an atmosphere with layers. Introduce the new words such as atmosphere and solar system.
Read the story There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Tish Rabe.
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Introduce the four layers of the atmosphere:
Layer 1: Weather conditions, cold at the poles
Layer 2: Airplanes travel, ozone absorbs the sun's harmful rays
Layer 3: Meteors burn, radio waves travel
Layer 4: The area known as space
Divide the class into four groups and assign each group to work on a layer of the earth's atmosphere, by handing each group science magazines with pictures of the related items. For example, the group that is working on the first layer, should cut out pictures and create a collage of weather related pictures. The next group should work on the second layer with airplanes, etc.
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To reinforce the lesson, music is an exciting interacting activity that helps children remember.
Solar System Song (tune to “The Farmer in the Dell")
"The Earth turns around. The Earth turns around.
Once a day, every day, the Earth turns around.
The moon goes round the Earth. The moon goes round the Earth.
Once a month, every month, the moon goes round the Earth.
The Earth goes round the sun. The Earth goes round the sun.
Once a year, every year, the Earth goes round the sun."
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Felix Explores Planet Earth by Annette Langen and Laura Lindgren
Planet Earth Gets Well by Madeline Kaplan
The Earth's Atmosphere posted by Sara I. Register on Teachers.net.
Song "Solar System in Motion" submitted by Judy Hottman
Learning About My World Unit: The Planet Earth
This geography unit consists of a series of lesson plans adaptable for kindergarten through 3rd grade, focusing on the town, state, country, continent and planet.