Adaptations of Life in the Solar System

The pupils receive a distress call from an alien planet. Over the course of 3-4 lessons, pupils will learn about how life is adapted to live in different places, why water is necessary for life and the size of the Solar System by helping the aliens. The target audience for this resource is level 2 learners, corresponding to 10-12 year old pupils (P5-P7 classes in Scotland).
Pupils have the opportunity to learn more about their assigned alien world using the pre-prepared fact files. They will then share this knowledge with the rest of their class and will finally celebrate successfully saving the aliens!
Lessons in this resource:
  • Lesson 1: First Contact
  • Lesson 2: Lift Off
  • Lesson 3: Save the Day
  • Lesson 4: Celebrate
This resource bundle includes pdf and editable versions of the following:
  • Lesson plans for teachers for lessons 1-4, including relevant Es, Os and Benchmarks
  • PowerPoint presentations for lessons 1-4
  • Fact files on Europa, Mars, Titan and Venus
  • Transcripts of messages received from Europa, Mars, Titan and Venus
  • Worksheet titled “Building a Scale Model of the Solar System” for lesson 2
  • Instructions & Worksheet titled “Can you help the aliens?” for lesson 3
Learning outcomes in the Curriculum for Excellence:
SCN 2-01a: I can identify and classify examples of living things, past and present, to help me appreciate their diversity. I can relate physical and behavioural characteristics to their survival or extinction.
SCN 2-05a: I can apply my knowledge of how water changes state to help me understand the processes involved in the water cycle in nature over time.
SCN 2-06a: By observing and researching features of our solar system, I can use simple models to communicate my understanding of size, scale, time and relative motion within it.
MNU 2-10c: (Extension) Using simple time periods, I can give a good estimate of how long a journey should take, based on my knowledge of the link between time, speed and distance.
This resource was created as part of the Geoscience Outreach Course which is a 4th year undergraduate course in the School of Geosciences aiming to provide students with the opportunity to develop their own science communication and engagement project.
To find more Open Educational Resources from the University of Edinburgh, visit and/or our TES store.