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Solar System in My Neighborhood
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Solar System in My Neighborhood

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Short Description: In this 1-hour activity, students shrink the scale of the vast solar system to the size of their neighborhood. They are challenged to consider not only the traditional "planets," but also some of the smaller objects orbiting the sun. Children compare the relative sizes of scale models of the planets, two dwarf planets, and a comet as represented by fruits and other foods. They determine the spacing between the scaled planets on a map of the neighborhood and relate those distances to familiar landmarks. This indoor activity may be used in addition to, or in place of, the outdoor scale model explored in Jump to Jupiter.

Topic: Scale of Our Solar System

Grade Level: 5-8

Body: Our Solar System

Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Science Education Standards: Benchmarks
The Physical Setting: The Universe:

Grades 3-5:

  • Planets change their positions against the background of stars. 4A/E3
  • The earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and the moon orbits around the earth. 4A/E4

National Science Education Standards
Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science:

Grades 5-6: Earth in the Solar System

  • The earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets. The sun, an average star, is the central and largest body in the solar system.
  • Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion. Those motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, phases of the moon, and eclipses.

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Last Updated: 1 Jul 2014