DIY Solar System Map

Seriously, who doesn’t love Astronomy? I’ve never met a kid who wasn’t fascinated with planets, stars, and the idea of outer space. This lesson has always been a huge hit in my classrooms, especially when we’re studying Cosmology – the first Great Lesson in a Montessori lower elementary classroom. This map was super easy to make using Montessori Printshop’s Solar System Charts. The charts can easily be used in primary and lower elementary classes and science tutoring sessions.  

Objective: to learn the order of the planets in our Solar System and to invoke wonder, amazement, and a desire for more planetary research.

Materials: (I’m not an affiliate of Montessori Printsop, I just really like their stuff! Click on the highlighted link below to take you to the product.)

  1. Solar System map (planets cut and glued onto black construction paper, then laminated for durability)
  2. two pieces of black, laminated construction paper (the same paper as the laminated map)
  3. small basket for loose pieces (planets, labels)
  4. long tray to hold maps

The first round of picture tutorials is simply showing the child how to match the planets. This set up would be without using the planet name labels.

 Set your map side by side so that it shows the correct order of the planets from the sun. Place the loose planet pieces on one of the blank black sheets. Depending on the age of the child, you can explain that the planets are not actually positioned in a linear fashion in space, but this will at least show the order of the planets.

You can also show the child two different ways of memorizing the order of the planets. These always bring laughs and a little humorous conversations. They often try to make up some of their own.   Pick up the first piece, in this case the sun, and find the match for it on the map.


 Place the sun on top of the sun and say, “Sun.”

 Pick up another planet and find it’s match on the map. In this case it’s Jupiter. Place it on top of the match and say, “Jupiter.”

(Note: you can also have the young child go in order of the planets by finding the loose matches of the next planet in line on the map. It’s completely up to you… or the child.)

 Continue matching all of the loose planets to the planets on the map. Once you have matched them all, call out each planet in order while pointing to each one.

If you are working with a beginning reader or a young child who is ready to match letters to letters, you can set up the charts like this:

 And the child will match the planets first just as she did in the previous lesson…

 Then match the names with the names on the chart… (for pre-readers, the intention is not to actually read the words but to become familiar with the letters in the words)

 And place the labels either on top of the names or below the names…

 Until they are all matched! Then go through the chart, pointing at the planet and the label while saying the name of each planet… including the sun, asteroids, and comet of course!

For a more challenging approach, the child can attempt a more abstract way of matching the chart. This is done by finding the match and placement of the planets and labels, then putting them in the correct place on the blank charts. Like this:

 Lay all of the loose parts underneath the blank charts.

 Pick up one planet and find the match on the map.

 Then place it in the correct place on the blank chart (In this case, we had already set the sun in the correct position.)

 Keep going with matching each of the loose parts and placing them on the blank chart…

 Our beautiful Earth. Don’t forget the moon…

 Until all of the planets are in their proper places. 

 Then start on labeling the planets. We went ahead and put the labels in alphabetical order… you know, just for fun.


 

Take the first label (in this case, Asteroids) and compare it to each label on the map beginning with Sun.

Once you’ve found the match, set the label underneath the loose piece on the blank map.

 

Then move on to the next label…

 

 Until all of the planets, space objects, and labels are matched.

Excellent! Now do this work as OFTEN as you’d like! You can even make your own map using the coloring pages that come with the bundle. This is loads of fun. 


About Miranda

* Pisces. Eclectic. Indigo. Mother. Wife. Teacher. Herbalist. Scientist. Fantasy. Outdoors. Ocean. Crafty. Dreamer. * Found out more in the About section.

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