Tuesday, 30 October 2012

It's gargantuan

We carried our solar system theme into today.  My goal today was to help the children understand the size of each of the planets relative to one another, and the vast size of the solar system (or rather, just the part that we know of).  Fortunately, we had picked up a fabulous book at the library, 13 Planets:  The Latest View of the Solar System, to help me out with that.  This was the same book I used to introduce the planets.

At the end of the book, the author (David A. Aguilar) provides instructions of using everyday pantry items to recreate a scale model of the solar system.  This afternoon, we gathered up these items and headed outside:

  ~ grapefruit (we used a small melon):  Sun
  ~ salt:  1 grain for each of Mercury and Mars
  ~ raw sugar:  1 grain for each of Venus and Earth
  ~ baking soda:  1 speck for each of Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris
  ~ cherry tomato:  Jupiter
  ~ grape:  Saturn
  ~ frozen peas:  1 pea for each of Uranus and Neptune
  ~ orange:  for the Sun's next nearest star, Proxima Centauri
  ~ chalk
  ~ tape measure

We started out on the corner of our block, then used the measurements from the book to measure out where the planets would be.  We got as far as Saturn before we ran out of real estate.  And that next-nearest star?  With the scale we were using, we would need to go to Halifax!

I'm standing on "Saturn", while the children are standing on "the Sun" at the end of the block!

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