Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Creating a Model of the Solar System

Something I NEVER thought about: EVERY model of the solar system in books and concrete are not really to scale. It's really hard to explain to kids how far apart from each other some of the planets really are when they are inches apart on a page.

Then, another teacher at my school offered to do an awesome activity with my class. She found it here: 

Here's what you need to represent each planet:

The Sun = A bowling ball
Mercury = A pin head
Venus = A peppercorn
Earth = A peppercorn
Mars = A pinhead
Jupiter = A chestnut or pecan
Saturn = A hazelnut or acorn
Uranus = A peanut or coffeebean
Neptune = A peanut or coffeebean

Most can be found at the grocery store or already in your kitchen. The hard part is creating the model. You need A LOT of space! We went into the fields behind our school on Monday because the weather was finally awesome. To get to each planet, you need to "pace" out your steps. For example, once we placed the bowling ball as the sun, we had to take 10 paces to get to Mercury. Here is a list of the distance between planets. 

Mercury = 10 yards (or paces)
Venus = 9 more paces
Earth = 7 more paces
Mars = 14 more paces
Jupiter = 95 more paces
Saturn = 112 more paces
Uranus = 249 more paces
Neptune = 242 final paces

After we counted out the distance, we place a card with the "planet" on the grass. 
(It was windy so we had to hold down our cards with sticks!)

 If you teach the solar system, I HIGHLY recommend this activity!

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