Explore - Shaping the Planets

Shaping the Planets

Overview of Activities

A variety of forces have given the planets the features we see on their surfaces today.  In the Shaping the Planets suite of activities, children create their own miniature versions of those forces!

What are the processes that shape the planets?

There are four basic processes that shape the planets in our solar system.

Eruption of molten rock onto the surface of a planet

Eruption of molten rock onto the surface of a planet

Wearing away of a planet's surface

Impact Cratering
Breakup of a planet's surface when a meteoroid hits

Activities Overview

Make a Volcano:
Make repeated colorful “volcanic eruptions” using food coloring, vinegar, and baking soda and determine a volcano's history of eruptions based on the layering of different flows.

Crater Creations:
Model the formation of an impact crater by dropping balls into a tray with layers of different colored powders and examine the features.

Flubber Flows:
Predict and model the properties of glaciers, view images of advancing glaciers, and create your own Flubber flow.

Carving Channels:
Create channel features in sand and diatomaceous earth with flowing water.

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