Friday, February 27, 2015

Making our Solar System

We have spent the last few weeks learning about our solar system.  It all started when Colton was extremely interested in rockets and space travel, so we checked out several books from the library and learned all about rockets, space suits, and of course, the planets and moon. 

"The Kingfisher" Space Encyclopedia is a favorite. 
Colton keeps talking about wanted to be an astronaut someday, so we learned all about what he would need to do to become one :).  Through reading and talking about our books from the library, Summer grew quite interested in how the solar system all fits together, especially how our planet interacts with the rest of the universe.  Her most frequent question at dinner is, "Will you please teach me something about the earth?"  To which Daddy takes over (with much gratitude from me, as I have been fielding questions all day!) and teaches all sorts of interesting facts about everything from tides, to the make-up of the earth, to the oceans, and so much more!  They are such sponges right now, and so curious!

Anyway, this morning (day 2 of kiddo colds/coughs and freezing weather, keeping us inside all day!) we decided to make our solar system.  We started by collecting all the balls in the house.

Then, we found pictures that compared the sizes of the planets and the sun and learned from this link and realized we would need Mommy's exercise ball for the sun and little tiny marbles (and an earring!) for the small planets and the earth's moon.

Colton helped me find balls that could represent each planet, trying to get the sizes as approximate as possible.  He and I also looked at this really cool interactive site to help us find out how big the moon should be as compared to all of our planets.

Summer used another site to write down all of the names of the planets on post-it notes to use as labels.

In the meantime, Colton and I looked at the pictures in his book to find out what colors we should make the planets and started wrapping them up in corresponding tissue paper.

Looking at the planets in the Kingfisher Space Encyclopedia to find colors of the planets

Making Saturn

We discussed what we should do for Saturn's rings, and Colton (all on his own) said we should use tracks from his train table.  Great idea, Colton!

Making Saturn's rings.
 When Summer finished making the labels, she helped us make "the big red spot" for Jupiter and make the earth by wrapping a ball in blue tissue paper and taping on green tissue paper.

Summer making the "big red spot" for Jupiter
 Then we took turns taking a planet and putting it the order it appears in distance from the sun.

They were pretty proud of the solar system they made!
Then we spent a long time talking about the planets.  We looked at each one and talked about what is special about each one.  Summer helped demonstrate how the earth rotates around the sun (she walked around the sun holding earth to demonstrate) and how that is one year.  We also talked about how the earth spins, demonstrated that, and talked about night vs. day.  Colton demonstrated how the moon rotates around the sun, and we talked about how gravity keeps it in place, how there is less gravity on the moon, and how the moon affects the tides.  These are all things we have talked about A LOT before in the past few weeks, but it was fun to talk about them with our "model".  Finally, we took turns picking up a planet and putting it in order by size, and I was very impressed that Colton could put them in order from smallest to biggest.   Colton loves playing with his planes, and had fun flying his planes all around "the solar system", after we completed it :).

Here are some videos...

Starting to put the planets in order from sun...

Discussing the Planets...

Putting Planets in order by Size...

What better way to learn how amazing God is than to learn about our solar system!  He is so creative, big, and praiseworthy, and we thank him for caring about tiny little us!


Jill said...

Oh, man, I am so impressed! Good job, Kel! And, the stuff those kiddos know is amazing. So proud of all of you.

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