Lesson 1: The solar system in French

Children are challenged to use cognates, context and background knowledge as part of their language detective skills to work out the theme of the unit and to create their own bilingual word mat of solar system vocabulary.

Learning objective

  • To pick out key ideas and phrases in a longer piece of spoken French

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Understand spoken language from a variety of authentic sources
  • Explore patterns and sounds of language


KS2 Framework:

  • Understand the main points from speech which includes unfamiliar languages (O5.3)
  • Use a word bank (LLS)

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Before the lesson

Download classroom resources

Teacher knowledge - language points

Attention grabber

Main event

Wrapping up

During the week

What’s in a day?

Tell the class that all of the days of the week in French, except one, were named after bodies in the solar system. Can they work out which day is which, and which is the odd one out?

Lundi:  la lune (Moon) (Monday)

Mardi: Mars

Mercredi:  Mercure

Jeudi:  Jupiter

Vendredi:  Vénus

Samedi:  Saturne

Dimanche: – is the odd one out.


Unlike Germanic languages such as English, which name Sunday for the sun, ‘Dimanche’ comes from the Latin, ‘dies Dominica’ or ‘day of the Lord’, which is also used in many other European languages.

You could challenge the children to find out why the English days of the week are so-named:

Monday – the Moon day

Tuesday – Tyr’s day – Tyr was the Norse god of war and justice

Wednesday – Woden’s day – Woden was the Norse god of

Thursday – Thor’s day – Thor was the Norse god of thunder

Friday – Frigg’s or Fria’s day – Frigg or Fria was the Norse goddess of love and the heavens

Saturday – Saturn’s day

Sunday – the Sun god’s day

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding


Created by:
Belinda Dean,  
Languages specialist
Belinda is a French and Spanish teacher as well as a trainer for Network for Languages at Bath Spa University for the last seven years, delivering courses for teachers and PGCE students, and Expert Centre co-ordinator for the Global Learning…
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