You don't need to be a rocket scientist to effectively teach kids about our solar system. Though a high-level science degree surely helps in explaining to a classroom the relationship of planets to the sun, laymen can do a pretty good job using just a few household items, a little elbow grease and a coat hanger to create a solar system mobile. When finished, a solar system mobile can be hung in a classroom or home to remind kids just what position our planet is in.
Cut out a large circle from a sheet of cardboard. Find the centre of the circle and make a small dot with a pencil. This dot will represent the position of the sun on your mobile.
Draw nine circles (the orbit of the planets) around the centre dot using a compass. Draw the first four relatively close to the centre dot to represent the four planets that orbit closest to the sun. Leave a gap between the first four orbits and the next five to represent the space filled with asteroids between the orbits of planets four and five.
Draw the remaining five orbits using the compass.
Punch a hole through the centre dot using the tip of a pair of scissors. Punch one hole at a random point of each orbit ring radiating outward from the centre dot. These holes will hold the strings from which you will hang your planets.
Cut out smaller cardboard circles to represent all nine planets and one for the sun. Make the circle for the sun the biggest, followed by the biggest planets, Jupiter and Saturn. Approximately size the other circles to represent the rest of the planets. Search the Internet for a visual representation of each planet's size and cut your circles accordingly. Write the name of the planet on each cardboard circle.
Tape a piece of string to each of the planet cardboard circles. Loop the string through the hole for the appropriate orbit circle and affix it to the large cardboard circle.
Tape three longer pieces of string to the top of the largest cardboard circle. Affix the ends of the string to a metal coat hanger. Hang the completed mobile.
Things you need
- 3 long pieces of string (of equal lengths)
- 10 medium-length pieces of string (of equal lengths)
- Large sheet of cardboard