Paper Plate Planets
Children ages 10–13 can build 3-D models of the planets showing the interiors of each. Using paper plates and colored markers, children draw the layers of the planet to correspond in scale to the planet's interior. The idea is flexible, but instructions are minimal. (The component of spinning on a phonograph is unnecessary.) Cutaway images of planetary interiors can be found at Calvin Hamilton's Art Gallery.
Instructions and pattern for ages 8–13 for building a galactic mobile. Younger children will enjoy coloring and decorating the mobiles as well, but will require adult assistance for cutting and hanging the pieces.
Spinning Solar System
Children ages 6–11 work with a spinning paper model to understand why all the planets in our solar system lie in nearly the same plane and why all the planets revolve around the Sun in the same direction.
A craft activity in which children ages 5–10 make and decorate a model of Saturn and its rings using a CD and Styrofoam ball.
Walking Through the Solar System
Active outdoor activity for ages 7–9 to “step” through our solar system.
Children ages 7–13 make edible meteorites to discover more about these rocks from space.
Make an edible model of Earth's layers — core, mantle, and crust.
Paper Plate Lunar Surfaces
Using clay and paper plates, children ages 10–18 recreate lunar landscapes. The activity also can be used for other planets and moons in our solar system. The idea is flexible, but instructions are minimal. Lunar surface images can be found in the Consolidated Lunar Atlas.
A very basic interactive Web site that challenges children to place the planets in order based on distance from the Sun.
Solar System Mobile
Solar system mobile that children ages 8–13 can create and decorate using patterns.
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April 20, 2005