Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: 11 Planets!

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National Geographic’s 11 Planets, written by David Aguilar, is one of the best kid-friendly reference texts on the planets. Up-to-date and full of amazingly vivid computer graphics, 11 Planets teaches students about the new definition of the term “planet” and introduces Ceres in the Asteroid Belt and Eris in the Kuiper Belt. Each planet is given an individual two page spread including a brief informative narrative, three fun facts, a reference to Greek/Roman mythology, its orbit’s position around the sun, and unbelievable graphics.

Curriculum Connections

This is an amazing resource for classroom when studying Earth, Earth’s place in the solar system, and other planets. (ES.4c) The pictures throughout this book would really interest younger children, thus making 11 Planet a great read-aloud. This book would also work really well for research in fifth or sixth grade (6.8) In addition, the interesting tidbits in each planet’s profile include references to Greek/Roman mythology. For example:

“Jupiter was the king of the ancient Roman gods, so his name works for the biggest planet. He was also called Jove, which is why the gas giants are sometimes called Jovian planets. In some languages, Thursday is named for Jupiter.”

Additional Resources

  •  Play the “Missions to Planet Earth” online card game. Help to prepare five important NASA Earth missions. The information from these missions will help scientists understand how to keep Earth in harmony and friendly to all its living things.
  •  Play one of these solar systems games to test your knowledge and learn something new! Since it is impossible to link to only one of these games, this is a whole page of great games! I particularly love Planet Impact! and Comet Facts, Myths, & Legends!

Book: 11 Planets
Author: David Aguilar
Illustrations Specialist: Jean Cantu
Publication: National Geographic
Pages: 47
Grade Range: 4-5
ISBN: 978-1-4263-0236-7