Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
Take a walk to the planets
Mr. Hutchinson’s 6th graders discovered just how far planets in our solar system are from each other and the sun. For this project, students first used their Chromebooks to research the size of each planet in our solar system. Once the size of each planet was determined a scale was made with the Earth represented by a golf ball. Using this measurement system students ascertained that the sun would be 17 feet across!
Students then cut construction paper to represent all of the planets except Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Mercury was represented by a small pebble, Venus (Earth’s twin) by another golf ball, and Mars by a marble. Nicolette Kim was excited because she got to hold her favorite planet, Saturn, as the class walked past her all the way to the planet formerly known as Pluto.
Ooh’s and aah’s were heard as the class started stepping off the distance from Mars to Jupiter. It took 48 full sized steps to mark the distance from Mars to Jupiter. By the time they got to Pluto students had walked a total of 500 steps.
After all the planets had been placed, they looked back from Pluto to the Sun. Zach Penney was amazed that he could barely see the 17 foot sun and could not see the golf ball sized Earth! The class reflected on the enormous size of our solar system. Several students commented that the activity really gave a feeling for just how big our solar system is, and that they loved getting out of the classroom and learning outside.
Written by: Dale Hutchinson
Posted: Feb 26, 2014 by Brita Mann