Formal Education

Solar System Math (Grades: 5-8)
"Solar System Math" is a series of four classroom lessons centered on pre-algebra topics such as measurement, unit conversion, ratio and proportion, scale, data analysis, and data representation. The downloadable software application, "What's the Difference," supports the lessons with engaging multimedia that accurately illustrates the size, distance and composition of the bodies in our solar system.

The Voyage Scale Model Solar System (PDF, 543 KB) (Grades: 9-12)
In October 2001, the Voyage Scale Model Solar System opened in Washington, DC, displaying a one to ten billion scale of the sizes of the Sun and planets, and the distances between them. In this lesson, students will replicate the Voyage model to experience the size of the solar system.

Informal Education

Red Nickel Scale Model (Grades: 5-8, 9-12)
Solar System Ambassador Kevin Sullivan uses a few coins and some paint to explain the fundamentals of solar system scale and distance.

Pocket Solar System (Grades: 5-8, 9-12)
Stacy DeVeau of the Arizona NASA Educator Resource Center use a simple roll of register tape to bring home the scale of our solar system.

Worlds in Comparison: Play-Doh Planets (Grades: 5-8, 9-12)
Stacy also recommends using a simple ball of Play-Doh or modeling clay to just how big the gas giant planets are compared to Earth.