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Scale Our Solar System

For this activity I created planet fact cards (see attached) I printed these out (4 to and A4 Page) and stuck them on some A5 Card with a scale planet on it.

Finding the scale planets is the hard bit. If you use a large beach ball for the sun then you need some very small bits for Mercury and Mars ( I used the coloured sugar for decorating cakes)

Planet Fact Card

Body Approx Diameter at equator Diameter for model Suggested prop
Sun 1 392 000 km 45cm Large Beachball
Mercury 4880 km 1.6mm cake topping sugar crystal
Venus 12 100 km 4mm small peppercorn
Earth 12 756 km 4.2mm small peppercorn
Mars 6 790 km 2.2mm cake topping sugar crystal
Jupiter 143 000 km 47mm Large Bouncy ball
Saturn 120 500 km 40mm Large Bouncy ball
Uranus 51 100 km 16.8mm marble
Neptune 49 500 km 16.2mm marble

I also bought some string and some tags and measured out how far each planet was and tied a tag at each place.

Distance Between Planets

Distance from the Sun (in Million km) Distance from the Sun Scale: 1:100 000 000 000
Sun 0 0
Mercury 58 0.58m
Venus 108 1.08m
Earth 149 1.49m
Mars 228 2.28m
Jupiter 778 7.78m
Saturn 1430 14.3m
Uranus 2900 29.0m
Neptune 4500 45.0m

On the night we did this activity we visited a park. The girls got given a planet and then played a sort of top trumps on things like number of moons and size etc. discussing the differences and then we unrolled the string with each girl stopping when we got to her planet, you need a large space for this, but they found it fun.

This activity works well at the same time as Geocaching, we did both activities at the same time with half the girls doing 1 activity while the others did the other and then they swapped.