Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Solar System Mobile

We finally finished our Unit Study on the Solar System.

We studied each planet and decided to make a mobile for our final project. During our research, we were very impressed by the size comparison of the planets. So, for our mobile, we decided to focus more on size.

Most mobiles make the planets to the wrong proportions, because doing it to scale would make the smaller planets too tiny to really see, or the larger planets too big to fit in a room. We wanted to show the amazing differences in size, so it didn´t matter that our Mercury is only half a centimeter in diameter.

We looked for rocks to represent the planets,
and didn't worry about them being round or not.
For Neptune we found a rock with a quartz patch,
that looks like a face.
For Saturn we found a yellowish rock.
For Earth we used a blue marble, which served as reference for the sizes of the other planets, and is the only round planet in our mobile.
Dad helped us cut wire to make spirals for the orbits, after I nearly pinched a piece of flesh off
my hand with the wire cutters.
We used very thin wire to wrap around each rock
and then hung them from the thicker wire we used for the orbits.

Finally, we hung our solar system around an extra-large light bulb that represents the sun.
It's quite an abstract representation,
but I love how original it looks.
And as it hangs from my son's ceiling, I know he will often look up and reflect on just how huge the universe is.

For the research part of our project we watched Space School Videos.
You can find them all on this YouTube Page.
We're also working with these Worksheets on the Planets.
This Video on star size comparison is a must see!
The whole project cost us less than $2 (for the wire).

When we come back from our Summer break, we plan to stage a Solar System play - Pluto's Monologue. We'll learn about the Roman gods (and one Greek one) and practice memorization, speech and theatrical expression. We had planned to start a third Unit Study on the Human Body, but there's time for that next year and we're so fascinated by the Solar System. After all, that's what it's all about - finding a passion and flying with it!


  1. I LOVE your project and I LOVE your solar system!
    Great fun!

  2. Thanks so much for this original idea! Do you mind if we borrow it? :)

  3. Please do! I'd love to see photos when you're done.