No need to try to generate excitement with elementary students about space, the solar system and planets. They already have a natural curiosity about these things, thanks to an abundance of science fiction in the media. Here are a great way to capitalize on this excitement and to teach them the truth about our solar system.
The first part of this science lesson is making a solar system using candies for planets. It doesn’t show you the true size difference but it does bring out some of the main characteristics. The second part is about the fantasy of living somewhere within it!
Part 1: Creating The Solar System
You can either draw your orbits on black construction paper, or a paper plate.
Sun – Butterscotch
Mercury – Orange Jujube
Venus – Nestle’s Sno Caps;
Earth – Blue Skittle;
Mars – Red Skittle;
Asteroid Belt – Candy Sprinkles;
Jupiter – Peppermint with Red Hot stuck on top;
Saturn – Lemon Drop with Twizzler wrapped around;
Uranus – Green Jujube;
Neptune – Aqua Skittle;
Pluto – Tart ‘n’ Tiny;
Sweet Tarts and Mini-M&Ms are also possibilities. Be creative!
You can also give each student a planet and let them guess how far they would be from the sun. Start by giving where Pluto is so they have an idea of the area; then have them measure the correct amount.
Using the web link called Exploratorium is a fun converter that can make your solar system any size:
Part 2: Planet Postcard
Students choose their planet of preference to be from, pretend they live there, and they write to a friend describing their planet. Some specs to write about could be the temperature, humidity index, colors of the terrain, craters, life forms. Then instruct them to make a planet tourism advertisement where persuade people to come to their planet and visit!
Here is one of our fun games about the Solar System: