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"Solar System Scavenger Hunt"
scavenger_sun

The Earth is a large, round ball. It just looks flat because you can only see a tiny part of it at one time. The Sun and the planets are also round because when they formed, gravity  pulled all their parts as close to their centers as possible.

scavenger_planets

Though they're all round, planets are NOT all the same size. Mercury  would be as big as an orange, and Jupiter would be the size of a small car.

To size up the planets for yourself, create a scale model of the solar system using objects from around your home!

Create a Scale Model of the Solar System

What if you could shrink the planets so they fit on a kitchen table in front of you? The table below shows how big they would be.

Use the chart below to make a scale model of the solar system. A scale model is a smaller or larger version of something. It lets you compare the sizes of objects you can't see up close, or that are too far apart to see together.

scavenger_objects

Start Hunting!

Look for objects around your home that fit the scaled-down sizes of the planets and the Sun. All you need is a ruler and your imagination!

Hint: Hunt all around the house: in the kitchen, the tool closet, the storage room. You can use anything from peppercorns to fruit to a basketball. Remember, everything should be round like the planets.

Planet Scale Model in Inches
Mercury 5/16
Venus 3/4
Earth 13/16
Mars 7/16
Jupiter 9
Saturn 7 1/2
Uranus 3 3/16
Neptune 3 1/8
Pluto 1/8
Sun 87

Arrange your model!

scavenger_rocket_off

Can you put your "planets" in order by size? How about by distance from the sun? 

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Test your knowledge of the planets using your scale model. 

scavenger_rocket_off

See if your friends can pick out "Earth" from your collection!

Image Credits:

Illustrations: Eric Hamilton