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Name of Activity:

PE Planets

Academic content:


Purpose of Activity:

This activity uses various ball skills to reinforce the names of the planets, their order in relation to the sun, and the revolving of the planets around the sun.


The children should have experience dribbling and catching different size balls. The children should be able to distinguish the difference between a bounce/catch and a dribble.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

A variety of different size balls for each child that will bounce, 10 cones of various sizes with the names of a planet on each cone.

Physical activity:

Dribbling and Catching

Description of Idea

The children will know the names of the planets by looking at the signs on the cones. Planets will be assigned a number in relation to their order from the sun, for example...Mercury - one bounce, Venus - 2 bounces, and Pluto - 9 bounces. The children will bounce the ball the number of specified times as the teacher calls out the planet. The teacher will count and bounce with them to reinforce the numbers. The teacher will also bounce the ball a specific number of times while the children watch and listen. The children will count and choose which planet corresponds to the number of bounces. This encourages children to use their auditory and visual skills.

Once children become familiar with the planets, the class will be divided into 9 planet groups. The cone with the Sun is located in the center of the gym. The planets are spread out in a line toward one side of the gym. Children are to line up behind their specified cone planet. Cone sizes can vary according to the smallest planets and largest cones for the larger planets. Teacher demonstration will show each group their ORBIT around the Sun. On go, children will bounce and catch their ball around the sun making their planet's orbit. The children are encouraged to walk as they bounce and catch their ball as they "Revolve" around the sun.

The following points can be stressed to the children:

  • The difference in time it takes for the planets to make one orbit (Mercury will be walking in small circles while Pluto will be walking in a larger circle). Comparisons can be made, for example, Mars takes 88 days for one orbit, Earth takes 365 days and Pluto takes 248 years.
  • The rotation of each planet as they orbit around the sun. Children can turn around as they move around their orbit to demonstrate planet rotation and why we have day and night.
  • Differences in temperature in relationship to their distance from the sun. This activity can also be done with different locomotor skills and movements.


    The children can use locomotor skills and jumping during this activity. Larger balls can be used for younger children or children who have difficulty catching.

    The older children can use a basketball dribble instead of the bounce and catch skill. The depth of the lesson can be varied with kindergarten as well as 5th grade.

    Assessment Ideas:

    Teacher observation allows children to see if they are showing control with their manipulative skills. Continuous questioning can help reinforce the order of the planets. Check sheets can also be used to assess student knowledge.

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    Submitted by Nancy  McGregor who teaches at Centerville Elementary in Anderson , SC . Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 5/21/2000.

    Viewed 52624 times since 8/24/2001.

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    Previous Comments:

    albert ilukena

    this idea worked well.

    Y. Rodriguez Physical Educator

    Thank you for your help, I tried it with our kids and they caught on to it really well, the participation was great, it kept them active and focused.