Solar system projects for kids in elementary school

Updated June 13, 2017

Elementary school students learn the basics about our solar system in their science classes. Teachers design lessons and activities that help reinforce their students' knowledge about the planets and the sun. Students can create their own solar system models, make planet brochures and decorate their classrooms with handmade planets. (See Reference 4)

Cardboard Solar System

Students will need a circular piece of cardboard approximately 12 inches in diameter, scissors, tape, string, different colours of card stock, a pencil, markers, crayons and a compass. Measure six inches to the centre of the cardboard and mark the centre. Use the compass and the centre point of the cardboard circle to draw the orbits of the eight official planets (nine if you count Pluto) on the cardboard with the first four circles close to the centre. Use a sharp pencil to poke one hole in each orbit. These holes will be where each of the planets will hang. Punch a hole in the centre where the sun will be. Then, cut eight (or nine) circles from the coloured card stock. The largest will be for the sun, with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune relatively smaller. The remaining planets should be the smallest. Punch a hole in each circle and use a string to attach each planet to its orbit on the piece of cardboard. Label each planet and hang. (See Reference 1)

Planet Brochure

This activity is assigned by teachers as the culmination of a unit on the solar system. Students create a travel brochure based on one planet in the solar system. Each student chooses a planet to highlight in his brochure. After doing research about their planets, students design their brochures to highlight special features on the planet, such as distance from the sun, temperature, geographical features, number of moons and orbital patterns. At the end of the project, students present their brochures to the class. (See Reference 2)

Classroom Planetarium

Teachers create a classroom planetarium with this group activity. Divide the class into 10 small groups; all the planets and the sun will be represented. Each group creates a papier-mache model of one planet or the sun. beginning with a balloon. The teacher facilitates blowing up the balloons so the relative size of each planet is created. Once each balloon is the right size, groups work together to make their planets. Students dip strips of newspaper into a paste made of one part flour to three parts water and completely cover the balloons. After a few days, when the balloons are dry, pop the balloons inside and paint the planets. When each group is done, the teacher hangs the planets from the ceiling, creating a classroom planetarium. (See Reference 3)

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About the Author

Kimberlee Broaddus is a fourth grade teacher in California who has written articles for her school's monthly newsletter. She holds a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis on early elementary education. She currently sits on a district writing committee working on curriculum and assessments for local schools.