Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Solar System in our Hallway

My boy is a visual, hands-on learner.

I, apparently, am a slow learner, because I am still always pleasantly surprised when projects like today's resonate so well with him.
Gathered 'round our book.

For our model we didn't worry about the accuracy of the size of the planets.  We made Jupiter the biggest and Mercury and Pluto the smallest (yes, we counted Pluto as a planet) and arranged the rest in the middle.
From the sun on the left, through Jupiter on the right edge.

Where we got out our measuring tape was for relative distance from the sun.

Handily, we had the sun Alan made a couple of weeks ago when he was learning about creation, so we started with that.

From there, we measured: 
2 inches for Mercury
3 inches for Venus
4 inches for Earth
6 inches for Mars
1 foot, 9 inches for Jupiter
3 feet, 2 inches for Saturn
6 feet, 5 inches for Uranus
10 feet, 1 inch for Neptune
13 feet, 3 inches for Pluto

Our hallway is the longest stretch of wall in the house, and since we're planning on painting it sooner or later anyway, we just stuck our planets up with scotch tape.

Not only did this visual help us get just a tiny bit better understanding of the vastness of our solar system, it turned out to be a fantastically fun play scene.  
As crowded as it was near the sun, look how far Pluto is!

Long after I had seen all I needed to, we still had astronauts in taxis and all other manner of spacecraft zooming up and down the hall, to infinity and... well... you know the rest.

The idea for this project came from a great little book from our library:

This little winner is copyright 1987.  In it you will find facts about the sun and each of the planets in our solar system.  Their orbits, sizes, etc.  You will not find any nonsense about big bangs, the passage of billions of years, or anything else of the sort.  While it would be great to find such a factual book that also includes the true creation of the solar system, after sorting through so many big-bang-books I found even the neutrality of this one refreshing!

1 comment:

Karen@Candid Diversions said...

Great idea! If only we had a hallway... :)