Earth Background Information for Teachers and Families

Grade Levels: K-3

This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about the globe, world, and planet Earth.  The information is designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie Earth. It explains the type of content covered in the movie, provides ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and suggests how other BrainPOP Jr. resources can be used to scaffold and extend student learning.

A solar system is made up of a star and all the bodies that orbit it. Our solar system consists of the Sun and all the planets, moons, and other bodies that orbit it. We recommend watching the Moon movie together as a review. It is important for your children to understand that the Sun is our closest star but that there are other stars and planetary systems in the universe. Earth is the third planet from the Sun and, thus far, it is the only planet that scientists know can sustain life as we know it.

The Sun’s gravitational force is strong enough to pull bodies near it. As a result, planets and other bodies in our solar system orbit, or go around, the Sun. It takes about 365 days, or one year, for Earth to orbit the Sun. Since the Earth’s orbit around the Sun is a little more than 365 days, leap years with 366 calendar days were established. Earth’s gravity attracts one moon (other planets, such as Jupiter, have more moons) which orbits the Earth about once per month.

Your children should understand that there are different biomes that exist on our planet, including deserts, mountainous areas, grasslands, tundra, forests, and freshwater and saltwater environments. Water covers about 70% of our planet, which is why people call it the Blue Planet. Earth sustains a startling diversity of life and different plants and animals live in different environments. Many living things call Earth home and your children should understand that they should respect and protect our natural resources. Over 6 billion people live on Earth and the population grows everyday. Help your children to understand that people put an enormous strain on Earth’s natural resources and create environmental problems that can harm other living things. Recycling, reducing waste, and reusing items are all ways your children can be active participants in protecting their environment. Children should understand that Earth is our only home and it is our responsibility to take care of it and secure its future.