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What in the Solar System Is a Planetary Icosahedron?

Subject:Science, Visual Arts, Geometry

Brief Description
Students learn about the solar system and create an icosahedron representing a body in the solar system.


Students extend their knowledge of the solar system.


geometry, space, solar system, planets, icosahedrons

Materials Needed

Maps for creating icosahedrons, one for each student. Go to Planetary Icosahedrons, click the desired map miniature, click the appropriate sized JPEG image, and print the map. Views of the Solar System or other print or online resources about the solar system; double-sided tape or glue

Lesson Plan

  • Arrange students into eight groups, one for each of the available icosahedron maps, and tell them that each group will make icosahedrons of a planet or moon in our solar system.
  • Explain to students that an icosahedron is a 20-sided polyhedron with each side made up of an equilateral triangle. In a planetary icosahedron, each face of the triangle displays a part of a (nearly spherical) planetary surface.
  • Provide students in each group with information about their particular planet or moon from either online or print resources.
  • Provide students in each group with a printed map of the assigned planet or solar body. Ask them to write a single paragraph speculating on the appearance of the map, based on what they know about the moon or planet.
  • Have each student cut out and assemble a planetary icosahedron.

Extension: Invite students to study the information about the other planets and then use online images to create maps of those planets. Encourage students to make planetary icosahedrons for those planets.



Lesson Plan Source

Education World (with resources from Views of the Solar System)

Submitted By

Linda Starr

National Standards


Visual Arts: