Blog Post #7: Virtual Lesson (Planets)

Objective: Given a document with images of the eight planets and the Sun, the student will be able to order the planets (by distance from the Sun and by size—largest to smallest) correctly with 75% accuracy (six out of eight planets in the correct place).


  • SOL 4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include
    • a) the planets in the solar system;
    • b) the order of the planets in the solar system; and
    • c) the relative sizes of the planets.
  • The focus of the lesson is understanding the organization of the solar system in terms of the planets that are a part of the solar system, the order of the planets from the sun, and the relative sizes of the planets.
  • Misconceptions: The images of the planets in the assessment may appear to be the same size as one another.


  • The students will learn about the planets in the solar system by watching the two videos, understand the order and the size of the planets by taking a virtual tour of the solar system, and apply their understanding by creating mnemonics for both the order and size of the planets.


Pedagogical-Content Knowledge (PCK):

  • The students will watch the two videos (pedagogy), explore the interactive virtual tour (pedagogy), and create mnemonic devices (pedagogy) to learn the planets in the solar system, the order of the planets from the sun, and the sizes of the planets (content).

Technological-Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK):

  • The students will use the two videos (technology) and the interactive virtual tour (technology) to listen and watch the organization of the solar system (pedagogy) and create mnemonic devices for the order and size of the planets (pedagogy).

Technological-Content Knowledge (TCK):

  • The planets in the solar system, the order of the planets from the sun, and the sizes of the planets (content) can be accessed through the videos and interactive virtual tour (technology) and can be assessed through the discussion board on Google Classroom and the Google Drawing assessment (technology).

Google Classroom Code: h2ihxgm

Literacy and the Arts

Art forms are considered language because they serve as a means of communicating with others through different media, whether it may be painting, sculpting, singing, dancing, writing, etc. As Dr. Goldberg explains in the text, communicating through art is especially beneficial in elementary school classrooms, in which there are culturally diverse students who come from many different backgrounds and often speak different languages.

I believe that the best mode for “playing with language,” and communicating with others, is through picto-spelling. Although I have heard of drawing pictures to represent a word or idea, I was interested to learn more about picto-spelling. I like the idea of using the letters of a word to create an image to represent that word because it not only helps students grow their vocabulary, but it also improves their spelling. In my opinion, picto-spelling is the best art form when it comes to “playing with language” because it allows students to be creative and express how they perceive people, animals, places, and objects through the process of analyzing and drawing representations. This particular art form also encourages students to celebrate their individual differences—each student’s picture is unique and representative of their literacy skills.

My preferred method of learning new language skills is through drama. Being able to read a script, develop a character, and tell his/her story is beneficial in terms of developing literacy and communication skills. Drama is an art form that allows a person to feel emotionally connected to a story through the understanding of another’s thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, etc. While many plays/musicals are developed from a writer’s imagination, others are true stories, often depicting historical events. Drama allows for a deeper understanding of a person and his/her interactions and relationships with others. It serves as an important means of communication and often allows students to expand their knowledge on a particular topic.

In terms of integrating art into the curriculum to teach literacy, as well as adhere to specific standards of learning, I believe that rather than the art form having to be adapted, the method of teaching must be adapted in order for the art to complement the content of the SOL. Students and teachers alike often view SOLs as a component of education that cannot be taught in different ways. The integration of art along with the way in which the material is taught (i.e., the specific art form) provides an opportunity for students to better understand concepts by expressing their thoughts and feelings. I believe that all of the art forms are valuable and can be used for different subjects, depending on the content and the objectives of learning.

Making Activity: Historical Artifacts

In class on February 27, 2018, we focused on planning a lesson related to history/social studies using historical artifacts we created with the digital fabricator. My group decided to focus on early colonial events to help students understand the order in which the events took place and how much time was between the events. Using the digital fabricator, we created visuals of North and South America to represent Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas in 1492, Virginia to represent the settlement of Jamestown in 1607, the Mayflower to represent the Pilgrims arriving to the New World in 1620, the Boston Harbor to represent the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and the Declaration of Independence to represent its ratification in 1776. On each of the artifacts, we cut out the dates in order to create a visual for students to determine the order in which they took place. Our lesson would start out with having the students create a timeline on the walls around the classroom, especially focusing on mathematically spacing them out in order to understand how much time took place between the events. After the students create the timeline, they would be asked to draw a picture of something that they associate with the event—a person, a place, or something significant that occurred. The content of this particular lesson would be colonial events, the pedagogy would be using the timeline to teach concepts of chronological order and time in between events, and the technology would be the artifacts and rulers to measure the distance between the events. Integrating student-created art, as well as the artifacts created with the digital fabricator would be especially helpful in terms of allowing students to have visual representations to remember important events.

Attached is a photo and the digital files of the artifacts.





Declaration of Independence