The Planets


IMG_8191We traveled around our solar system learning about the 8 planets this week—-it was a totally out of this world experience 🙂      We have been wanting to do a planet theme for a while and with the year winding down decided now was as good a time as any! Throughout this unit the science access point recognize that there are planetary systems in the universe is explored. In our sensory group each of the boxes represented a different planet, the fine motor group made their own solar system, and the language group acted like planets! Read along to see all the fun we had.




IMG_8347Our first stop was Mercury. Our students used this grey floam to make squish into balls that look like the small grey planet. Floam has a really cool texture and  a pretty “cosmic” look! Both the adults and students are always intrigued when we include it in one of our units.

This was a great activity for working on bilateral coordination. It also addresses the science access point (related to forces and motion) recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move.

It also addresses the math access point recognize common 3 dimensional objects such as balls (spheres).




IMG_8312The next planet we explored was Venus. It has swirls of blue and green clouds. We decided that a discovery bottle would be a perfect way to illustrate this feature. The bottle was made using oil, water, food coloring, green glitter, blue glitter, and blue sequins. We got a cloud-like effect and the students really enjoyed watching the swirling contents after it was shaken.

Forces and motion are again explored in the science access point track the movement of objects that are pushed or pulled.




IMG_8392IMG_8297From space, our planet earth is also blue and green! In this box, filled with blue rice and green split peas, students found letter “E’s” hidden in the rice.

We have used this rice before and everyone seems to like its pretty bright colors. This time as the rice was swept away, a picture of earth from space was revealed.

The science access point recognize that earth is a planet is addressed, in addition to visual and tactile discrimination skills.



IMG_8367Next we pulled out our red moon sand—-perfect for Mars, the red planet! Our students used a large cookie cutter to stamp circles—–which could be counted, of course!

In addition to exploring forces as the cookie cutter is pushed into the sand, the math access point recognize 2 dimensional shapes, such as a circle.

That red color is just SO eye catching!






IMG_8326IMG_8374Our students swirled red and yellow food coloring into shaving cream to look like the massive storms on the planet Jupiter. Since Jupiter is the biggest planet we used LOTS of shaving cream!

They loved swirling the colors together——-can you tell they had a blast 🙂

IMG_8405The science access points recognize that the appearance of an object or material has changed and recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move are both addressed.


IMG_8179IMG_8131These large, colorful, fluffy chenille stems made perfect rings of Saturn. Students could link them together, put them on their arms like a bracelet, or just explore their soft texture.

In addition to counting the rings, recognize 2 dimensional shapes is the math access point addressed. The science access point identify objects by one observable property, such as color can also be addressed.



IMG_8129Uranus is a beautiful blue color—-just like our play dough! It really turned out such a pretty color and the texture was PERFECT this week!

We added a number 8 cookie cutter to remind us that there are 8 planets in our solar system. Of course that led to discussion of what happened to Pluto, some of the adults are still miffed about Pluto’s demotion from planetary status—–but that is another story 🙂

Recognize a change in an object, a science access point, is addressed as number 8 impressions are made.




IMG_8187The planet Neptune was named after the greek god of the sea so we thought water was the perfect representation of this planet. A large cup and small spoon let our students explore capacity—–and the math access point recognize differences in sizes of containers that hold liquids.





IMG_8454The Bath and Bodyworks scent Ocean was used for our water play and lotion. This was a pretty strong scent that definitely caught our students attention and they all really seemed to like it.

The science access point recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli is addressed here.







IMG_8213We made a two part art project this week! On Tuesday each student got to make their own planet. We started by counting out our small paper plates. Then each student got to pick which color—–either red, green, or blue—-that they wanted. Effectively communicate wants and needs with prompting is a language access point addressed here.

The math access point recognize a 2 dimensional shape, in this case a circle, is addressed. In addition, the science access point recognize a change in an object is also addressed.





IMG_8272After the planets were painted the students chose how to decorate them. The choices were colored sand, glitter, or pompom moons. We just printed out photos of the choices on a piece of paper and asked them to point to the choice.

Putting on the pompoms was great for pincer grasp practice and eye hand coordination.







IMG_8293IMG_8256With all the different colors and embellishments, each planet was unique and totally cool!

IMG_8235                                                                                                  TA DA!!!!!


IMG_8615On Thursday we finished our solar system. We started by stamping stars onto a black poster board. We adapted the stamps in a variety of ways, including hot gluing a thread spool or adding a piece of pool noodle to make handles.


IMG_8547We discussed the color of the paint and asked our students to show us the color white using the communication symbols. We were so proud of them, 100% correct!

The science access point identify an object by one observable property such as color——NAILED!!!!!!

Our students ROCK 🙂





IMG_8557Next we stamped white stars all over a piece of black poster board—–addressing the science access point recognize a change in an object.

IMG_8584Then we added some silver glitter—–we NEVER pass up the opportunity to add glitter to a project 🙂







We finished by attaching all the planets to the poster board. The students chose the location of their planets but to make sure they were secure we used hot glue to affix them.

IMG_8612                                                                    Ta DA—–welcome to our solar system!



IMG_8459Since we have found that this group of students works well with movement, we decided to make the solar system come alive in our language group by using planet balls.

We started by taking 2 different sized planets and asking our students to find the BIG one or find the SMALL one.  They conveyed their answer either by gesturing, eye gaze, or verbalizing which one was the BIG/SMALL one.

Recognize differences in size of objects is a science access point.




IMG_8473We picked one of our students to be the sun and to stand still in the middle.  Each of the students AND adults became “planets”, had to rotate AROUND the sun.  This took a bit of prompting to get right, but after our students got the hang of it, they were revolving like true planets 🙂

Recognize three dimensional objects, such as a ball (sphere) is a math access point that can be addressed during this activity.






IMG_8520Sometimes we would ask our students to stop revolving.  We talked about which planet was the CLOSEST to the sun and which was the FURTHEST from the sun.

Recognize items as nearby is a science access point related to concepts of earth in time an space.

Our classroom solar system was a success!



IMG_8115Well this week was totally out of this world 🙂 Join us again next week for more fun and learning Group by Group!


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