University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Planetarium Letterhead

Grades K-2 Toolkit

This page corresponds to the K-2 Teacher section.

Here you'll find:

Learning Activities

Theme One: Astronomical Objects In The Day/Night Sky

1. The Sun is the closest star to us

a. The Sun is a Star!

b. The Sun is the Largest Object in our Solar System

2. The Moon is the Earth's only Natural Satellite

a. Moon light is Reflected Light from the Sun

3. Planets (Earth is a planet) go around Stars

Theme Two: The Solar System

1. Overview of Solar System: 1 star, 8 planets, and many small objects

Theme Three: Earth/Moon/Sun Interactions

1. Rotation of the Earth: Evidence is Day and Night

a. Interaction of the Earth and Sun

2. Eclipses

Discussion Questions & Answers

Theme One: Astronomical Objects In The Day/Night Sky

The Sun gives us heat and light

  • Discussion Question: What does the Sun do for us?
  • Answer: The Sun supports all life on earth through the process of photosynthesis. It provides us with heat and light. It powers the water cycle which creates our weather and climate. It provides us with seasonal cycles and even sleep cycle.

The Sun is the largest object in our solar system

  • Discussion Question: If the Sun is the largest object in the solar system, why does it look so small?
  • Answer: Because it is so far away.
Theme Two: The Solar System

Planets revolve around stars

  • Discussion Question: What star does Earth orbit?
  • Answer: (The Sun) The Sun is located at the center of our solar system.

The Sun and other celestial objects move across the sky

  • Discussion Question: Are the Sun, Moon, and stars are always in the same places in the sky?
  • Answer: No. As the Earth rotates, the Sun, Moon and stars appear to move across the sky. They rise and set. Also, the Moon orbits the Earth once a month and the Earth orbits the Sun once a year, so the Moon and Sun pass through different parts of the sky.

Theme Three: Earth/Moon/Sun Interactions

  • Discussion Question: Does the Moon gives off its own light?
  • Answer: No. The Moon light we see is actually reflected light from the Sun. The shape or phase of the Moon is determined by the Moon's position in its orbit around the Earth with respect to the Sun.

Interaction of The Earth and Sun

  • Discussion Question: Does the Sun turn off at night?
  • Answer: No. The Sun is always shining. We just don't always see it. Earth is always rotating on its axis, so the Sun appears to move across the sky. At sunrise, the Earth's rotation brings our homes into sunlight. By midday, the Earth has rotated so the Sun is high in the sky. At sunset, the Earth rotates so that the Sun goes below the horizon. During the night the Earth keeps rotating so the Sun can rise again.


  • Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
  • If You Decide to Go to the Moon, Faith McNulty
  • Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar    System, Joanna Cole
  • The Magic School Bus Sees Stars, Joanna Cole
  • Autumn Leaves, Leland B. Jacobs, Harcourt Science, T50
  • Our Tree, Marchette Chute, Harcourt science, T51
  • Our Changing Year, Kathryn Corbett, Harcourt Science, T54

Learning Objectives

Your visit will help you address the following targets and standards:

Wisconsin Model Academic Content Standards and WKCE Assessment Frameworks

  • E.4.4.a. Identify the Sun, Moon, and stars in the sky, and recognize that they appear to change position in the sky over time. Examples: Recognize the Sun as a star. Identify that the appearance of the Moon changes throughout the month. Understand that Earth is one of the planets in our solar system. . .
  • E.4.6.a. Describe changes, patterns and cycles that are observable during night/day and seasonal events on Earth.
  • E.4.6.b. Recognize that there are patterns in the Earth's motion activities.

MPS Learning Targets

  • Observe and describe changes in the Earth and sky, such as the phases of the moon.
  • Grades 1-2: Describe how we see them change.

Science Concepts

  • Day and night, month, year
  • Seasons
  • Celestial objects

Science Process Skills

  • Questions
  • Observations
  • Experimentation
  • Conclusions
  • Connecting relevance to students' world

Integration Learning Targets

Language Arts

  • Follow oral directions
  • Participate in discussions
  • Ask questions


  • Count and keep track of sets of objects up to 20
  • Sort and compare objects and shapes

Physical Education

  • Demonstrate self-control and the ability to follow directions

Social Studies

  • Identify and compare stories from different cultures



·Absolute Magnitude


·Apparent Magnitude

·Artificial Satellite


·Asteroid Belt


·Astronomical Unit

·Big Bang Theory

·Black Hole



·Celestial Equator



·Cosmic Background

·Cosmology Day




·Electromagnetic spectrum


·Elliptical Galaxy

·Escape Velocity



·Gas Giants


·Globular Cluster

·H-R Diagram

·International Space Station

·Irregular Galaxy

·Leap Year

·Light Year

·Low Earth Orbit

·Main Sequence








·Neutron Star

·Open Cluster


·Orbital Velocity Parallax

·Period of Revolution



·Prograde Motion





·Red Giant

·Reflecting Telescope

·Refracting Telescope

·Retrograde Motion


·Right Ascension





·Solar System

·Space Junk

·Space Probe

·Space Shuttle

·Spiral Galaxy


·Supernova Telescope

·Terrestrial Planets


·White Dwarf