Computer Skills Curriculum
Database Lesson Plans

Title: Planet Profile

Other Curriculum Objectives that can be addressed by this lesson plan
English Language Arts 2.1, 2.2, 4.1; Science (Gr. 6) 3.3, 5.2; Computer Skills: (Gr. 5) 2.2, (Gr. 6) 3.1; Information Skills 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2

Grade: 6
Competency 3.1: Use a database to sort records.

Measure 3.1.2: Sort a prepared database of the planets of the solar system to identify the planet with the greatest gravitational pull.

Materials Needed: Pre-activity: Media Center resources, copies of the Planet Profile Page Activity: Prepared database of the solar system. (Database--Planets)

Time: One class period with pre- and post-activities.

Terms: Database, File, Record, Field, Sort




Teacher Preparation

  • 1. Review the fields of the prepared database on the solar system.
  • 2. Practice sorting each field.

Teacher Preparation with Media Professional

  • 1. Locate the media center or class materials which contain current information on the solar system. Determine if information on all fields of the prepared database can be found in the collection of materials. If not, then those fields should not be used in the non-computer activity.
  • 2. Plan for the students to use the materials in the media center to locate the answers to the Planet Profile Page.

Non-computer Activity:

  • 1. Discuss the process of sorting: arranging information in alphabetical order from A to Z or Z to A or in numerical order from largest to smallest (9 to 0) or smallest to largest (0 to 9).
  • 2. Divide the class into nine groups and assign each group one planet.
  • 3. Provide each group a Planet Profile Page to complete using the media center or class resources.
                   Planet Profile Page
         Average Distance from Sun
         Probable Temperature in F
         Number of Moons
         Length of Year
         Gravity at Surface
  • 4. Using their completed Planet Profile Page, have the groups transfer each category/field name and information to an index card with the name of the planet on the top edge.
  • 5. Within each group, decide which 3 students will represent the planet by holding the index card for that category. Another group member will be the group sorter.
  • 6. As a category/field is called, have each group sorter direct their group's planet representative to join the other planet representatives for that category and stand in the correct position at the front of the class to illustrate the sort. Example of sorts:
    • a. from most moons to none.
    • b. from smallest distance from the sun to largest.
    • c. from highest probable temperature (in F) to lowest.
    • d. from shortest year to longest.

Computer Activity:

  • 1. As a class, review the contents of the prepared database on the solar system and field names.
  • 2. Demonstrate the sort operation of your database by sorting the planets
    • alphabetically by name.
    • from largest gravity at surface to smallest.
    • from longest year to shortest.
  • 3. Now sort the field for number of moons from the fewest to the most.
  • 4. Compare the information from the computer sorts to those in the non-computer activity. Discuss if there is any advantage in using a computer for sorting.


With a prepared database file of the planets of the solar system loaded into a computer, open the file and sort the planets to identify the planet with the greatest gravitational pull. Extra: Determine which planets with more moons than Earth would be suited for exploration by a non-manned space craft that can not withstand temperatures lower than 300F. (Action: Two sorts with a comparison of the two lists.)