Planet Poems


Steve Gandy

Mountain View Elementary School

Broomfield, Colorado




Subject Matter:

Elementary, Language Arts (English), Science





Software Application:

StarOffice word processing




After participating in the 4th Grade Solar System unit in science, the students begin a poetry writing unit in Language Arts. Using one of the appropriate models for poetry the students include information learned into their "Planet Poems". Planetary facts are included in the poem.


State & National Standards:

CO- Colorado Academic Standards

 Subject : Science

 Standard 4: Earth and Space Science: Students know and understand the processes and interactions of Earth's systems and the structure and dynamics of Earth and other objects in space. (Focus: Geology, Meteorology, Astronomy, Oceanography)

 Key Idea 4.4: Students know the structure of the solar system, composition and interactions of objects in the universe, and how space is explored

 Grade/Level : Grades K-4

 Performance Indicator : describing what can be readily observed by the unaided eye in the daytime and nighttime sky (for example, the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, constellations);

 Performance Indicator : describing the motion of Earth in relation to the Sun, including the concepts of day, night, and year

 Performance Indicator : identifying basic components of the solar system (for example, Sun, planets, moons);
 Subject : 
Reading and Writing

 Standard 2: Students write and speak for a variety of purposes and audiences

Writing and speaking are essential tools for learning, for success in the workplace, and for responsible citizenship. Developing a range of writing and speaking abilities requires extensive study, practice, and thinking. Students need frequent opportunities to write and speak for different audiences and purposes, and they need to be able to communicate expressively, informatively, and analytically. Growth in writing and speaking abilities occurs by applying skills to increasingly challenging communication tasks

 Grade/Level : CO- Colorado Academic Standards

 Grade/Level : Grades K-4

 Performance Indicator : generating topics and developing ideas for a variety of writing and speaking purposes (for example, telling a story, publishing a class newsletter, writing a letter to an adult, writing or orally presenting a book report, creating and producing a play, introducing a speaker or an event, narrating a presentation);

 Performance Indicator : organizing their speaking and writing

 Performance Indicator : choosing vocabulary that communicates their messages clearly and precisely

 Performance Indicator : revising and editing speech and writing

 Performance Indicator : creating readable documents with legible handwriting or word processing at the appropriate time


Local Standards:

Adams 12 Technology Skills Continuum Standard #2: Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

- Begins using touch typing with home keys.

- Independently uses spell check and thesaurus.

- Changes character formatting such as font color.

- Utilizes different document layouts. (i.e. newsletter, etc.)

- Changes document formatting such as: alignment, bulleted/numbered lists, borders, line spacing, margins, etc.

- Inserts a graphic into a word-processed document.

- Uses drawing tools such as: selection tools, eyedropper, etc.


Lesson Outcomes:

This is a "writing process" activity. The students will become better writers and editors. They will be given the opportunity for creating a polished published work. Poems provide an opportunity for students to show knowledge of the planet and scientific terminology.



Poetry Rubric 



Student Prerequisites:

Basic familiarity with the word processing environment.


Lesson Preparation:

See step one of the Implementation Steps.


Time Frame:

3 class periods. 45 Min. per class.


Implementation Steps:

1. Complete the 4th grade science unit on the Solar System.


2. Introduce the idea of Acrostic Poems. Acrostic poems are created by writing a key word down the paper on the left hand side. Then, the lines of poetry are produced using those initials as the first letters of each line of poetry.




R ound and plump

I n orbit around a gas giant

N ever ending circles

G rand bands of grit, dust and rock

S aturn's icon forever


3. Lead a discussion to bring the information learned about the Solar System back into focus.


4. Using the StarOffice word processing module (any word processor would do) have the students:

-create a new document

-enter the acrostic letters down the page

-using the CAPS Lock is okay in this instance though we usually restrict its use

-have them save

-then begin the first draft(s) of their poem(s)

-have them save


5. On a different day:

-have students open their poems

-give them to time to read and revise wording

-working with a partner here can stimulate the "let's make it better" mood


6. Teach or review the formatting tools for:




-indents etc.


Have the students make their poem pretty. Changing the "zoom" under the View Menu can give them a birds eye view for adjusting how the poem sits on the page.


7. Publish the poem. Have them do a spell check, save and print.


8. Optional additions:

-add clip art or author created graphics to the poem

-save the poem in html format for web sharing

-create a StarImpress presentation where each line of the poem becomes a slide with graphics and sound.

-create a verbal presentation to accompany the computer presentation. Add lessons on public speaking skills.



Solar System Internet Activity -



Product(s) Description:

Two acrostic poems in StarOffice format.



 Mercury Acrostic Poem





Decide which segment of computer use you want to emphasize.


For example, if you really want the final product to be the optional presentation with all the bells and whistles, don't spend much time making the original poem pretty.


For a less skilled group, you might be spending a lot of time just arranging the text on the page with little time left for colors, fonts etc.

Developed under a grant from Sun Microsystems, Inc. Open Gateways at Mountain View

Elementary School by Steve Gandy, Technology Coordinator -

© 2003