Science Friday: Solar System

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Previous to life on this blog (make no mistake, we are still living outside of this space as well), I kept up a personal series on Facebook and Instagram that I affectionately titled “Science Friday”. I am an NPR junkie, as those who know me can attest. And I LOVE Mr. Ira Flatow’s Science Friday programs!

My own mom has always been into hands-on learning and interactive/creative play (thanks for chasing some pepper around with some soap, Mom!). I wanted to do something in that vein for my boys– hence the birth of our Science Fridays!!!

For this particular project I wanted to make a model of our Solar System, have the chance to talk about planets, their order and orbit, where our earth is positioned in our solar system, etc. I read a couple online tutorials, but didn’t really like their take on the model. So one chilly Friday, my oldest and I set out to procure the items we needed for our model.

You’ll need:

  • 10 styrofoam balls. Varying sizes–Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, our Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune (Our local craft store had bins of individual balls, as well as some prepackaged balls in varying sizes.)
  • Crafting wire. (I found this super light aluminum wire in the flower section. I loved it because it was both light and BRIGHT! Standard green floral wire would work also.)
  • Paint. We used puff paint (because we already had some neon varieties). Tempera paint. And some glow in the dark glitter paint. I just squeezed it all out onto paper plates.
  • Paint Brushes.
  • Paper Plates– to hold the paint.
  • Plastic Bag– to cover your workspace.
  • Wooden Dowel (ours was roughly 2 feet long) to hang your planets from.
  • Fishing line.

First, paint your planets!

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Let your planets dry. I think we actually let ours dry OVERNIGHT because I wanted to be sure they were set up. Don’t want a glow in the dark glitter sun descending on your baby in his sleep. No bueno!

After your planets are dry, cut your craft wire in varying lengths. 10 objects, 9 wires (we decided that the sun would hang free within the orbits). There wasn’t much “science” here, I just measured each successive wire a little longer than the last. Then I took the wire “orbits” and put a little glue on each end and stuck opposite ends into opposite sides of each planet. Then we let those dry for 4 hours. Just so you know, this little project was also fulfilling a childhood dream of mine if you can’t tell from the picture below. Happy crafter there :).

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Once the crafting wire was dry inside the styrofoam we tied equal lengths of fishing line to either side of the crafting wire. Then we made tiny grooves in the dowel for each planet’s fishing line to rest and a deeper groove on both of the ends of the dowel to tie the string from which our model would hang. Now we ran the dowel through each fishing line, tucked them into the tiny grooves, and tied the string from one end of the dowel to the other. Hang, mobile like in your babes bedroom and, FINISHED!

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Here it is from below. I LOVE how it turned out! Happy Science Friday!

I have an outfit post coming your way tomorrow! Have a fabulous weekend!

X, Megan

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