Paper Plate Education
Activity: Plateful of Planets
Color the entire bottom side of the plate to represent the
sun and label it so. Decorate the
fluted edges of the plate to resemble solar flares (flames).
On the top side, write the names of the planets. You can write them in order from the sun, if you want the students to practice that skill, or you can write the names scattered around, the way the real planets are in different places around the sun. Next to each planets name, glue the seed that represents its size:
Mercury sesame seed Mars barley seed Uranus dried garbanzo bean
Venus small dried pea Jupiter walnut Neptune dried garbanzo bean
Earth large dried pea Saturn filbert (hazelnut) Pluto - radish seed
Contributed by April Whitt.
GLPA Proceedings, 1999, p. 36.
Multiple websites that offer scale models of the solar system are listed at http://www.vendian.org/mncharity/dir3/solarsystem. One website that allows you to establish your own reference size for a scale model of the Solar System can be found at http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/.
For example, if the earth were a paper plate (about 9 inches, or 228 mm) the rest of the system would be scaled as shown on the sample table below. The diameter of the sun would be equivalent to 983 inches, or about 109 paper plates placed end to end. A standard-sized package of paper plates contains 100 pieces. From that large sun, the plate-sized earth would be in orbit over 8,802 feet away. Some values on the table below have been rounded off for simplicity.
[Note: The table above is adapted from Ron Hipschman's page with permission. To alter input values on the table and recalculate the distances, connect directly to http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/.]
Copyright ©2012 Chuck Bueter. All rights reserved.