So, our astronomy leg is currently in production, but as you know we have already experienced it.
Let's just say - it was a blast!
And without spoiling the adventure, we wanted to bring one of our local experts from our astronomical adventure to share a bit with you all.
You know her.
You love her.
And you have probably already guessed it's Summer Beach!
And here she is . . .
Let's Head Out Of This World And Learn About The Solar System
I wish I could zip a set of painted planet sandwiches your way so that you could enjoy them as I share about the solar system today! For now, we'll just have to imagine them sitting on a plate before us.
Alright, take a bite and let's get rolling...
Our solar system is the collection of planets and other objects that orbit around the sun. It includes the eight major planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Our solar system also includes comets, stars, and asteroids, like those found in the Asteroid and Kuiper belts. And it includes space debris, plus a few dwarf planets - Pluto, Ceres, Eris, and a few others.
The pull of gravity from the sun keeps all these objects orbiting around this brilliant ball of fire. The sun is nearly 1000 times larger than all the planets put together.
So that's a peek at our solar system!
Now that you understand a bit more, Ulysses and I have combed the Internet and found a few activities for you to enjoy as you learn about this astronomical topic.
The Wall-Sized Solar System
One of the best ways to get a feel for the size and scope of our solar system is to do a scaled wall-sized reproduction.
You can do this project as a border in your room or in the space you use as a school room. We keep ours in the library in our lab!
Here is a scaled version of the sizes of the planets and distances they are from the sun.
- Distance from the Sun: 2 inches
- Scale diameter of the planet: 3/4 inch
- Distance from the Sun: 3 inches
- Scale diameter of the planet: 1-3/4 inches
- Distance from the Sun: 4 inches
- Scale diameter of the planet: 2 inches
- Distance from the Sun: 6 inches
- Scale diameter of the planet: 1-1/8 inches
- Distance from the Sun: 1 foot 9 inches
- Scale diameter of the planet: 22 inches
- Distance from the Sun: 3 feet 2 inches
- Scale diameter of the planet: 20 inches
- Distance from the Sun: 6 feet 8 inches
- Scale diameter of the planet: 8 inches
- Distance from the Sun: 10 feet 1 inch
- Scale diameter of the planet: 7-1/2 inches
If you don’t have the wall space to do this project - grab a few sheets of paper!
You will need two 11”x 17” sheet of black construction paper or three 8 ½” x 11” sheets together to make an 11” x 34” or 8 ½”x 33” sheet of paper.
Then, place the Sun on the far left and measure the distances of the planet from the guide below. You can use a pencil and a string so that you can draw a semi-circle since some of the planets will be very close and you may need to stagger them.
Mercury: 1 cm
Venus: 1.5 cm
Earth: 2 cm
Mars: 3 cm
Jupiter: 10.6 cm
Saturn: 19 cm
Uranus: 38.6 cm
Neptune: 60.6 cm
More Solar System Fun!
And if that wasn't enough, here are a few more solar system activities we know you will enjoy!
And here are a few books you can check out as you await the release of volume 6:
The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole
There’s No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Tish Rabe and Aristides Ruiz
13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Kids) by David A. Aguilar
Scholastic Reader Level 2: Solar System by Gregory Vogt
The Planets in Our Solar System (Let’s-Read-and-Find… Science, Stage 2) by Franklyn M. Branley and Kevin O’Malley