How to Make a Model of the Solar System

When children begin to learn about the concept of the solar system, understanding the galaxy and the fact that planets orbit the sun, can be a difficult and overwhelming idea to grasp at first. However, concepts can be developed and their understanding can be boosted by helping them build a model of the solar system, which will explain the planetary system to them in a demonstrative way, in addition to proving a fun activity for the classroom or for home.

Things Required:

- 1 large plastic foam ball (6 inches or larger)
- 9 plastic foam balls (between 1 and 4 inches)
- 9 bamboo skewers
- Scissors or sharp knife
- Masking tape
- Marker
- Ruler
- Construction paper
- Optional: Paint, string, pin

Instructions

  • 1

    Start by cutting strips of masking tape, and labelling one with “Sun” and the rest with the name of one planet each. Put these aside.

  • 2

    Next, cut the nine bamboo skewers in to these lengths: 2.5 inches, 4 inches, 5 inches, 6 inches, 7 inches, 8 inches,10 inches,11.5 inches and 14 inches. Line them up according to their sizes.

  • 3

    Then, paint the individual balls of foam if you desire – this will make the solar system model more visually appealing. Use yellow for the sun (the biggest ball of the lot), blue and green for the Earth, red for Mars, and so on. Allow the balls to dry once you’re done painting.

  • 4

    Once this is done, proceed to label all the foam balls with their appropriate masking tape tags, according to the planets they will represent in the model.

  • 5

    Now slide the 2.5 inch skewer in to the Sun, and attach Mercury to the other end. Then, insert the second longest skewer in to the Sun, and attach Venus to the other end. Repeat the same process with the rest of the skewers and balls, in accordance with the correct planetary order: Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Cut out small rings from the construction paper, and fix these around Saturn with glue.

  • 6

    Finally, you may choose to attach a pin to the top of the Sun, and tie a string so you can hang the model up in a classroom, or your child’s bedroom.

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