1. Introduce the Solar System: Explain that the Solar System is composed of the Sun and its 8 planets, as well as their moons, asteroids, comets, meteors, and other objects.
2. Make a 3-D Solar System Model: Have children craft a 3-D Solar System model using styrofoam balls (Sun) and various materials (paper tubes, cardboard cut-outs, and paint/markers to represent the eight planets).
3. Introduce the Eight Planets:
* Mercury: Smallest and closest to the Sun
* Venus: Brightest planet
* Earth: Home to all life
* Mars: Red planet with tallest mountain (Olympus Mons)
* Jupiter: Largest planet with over 60 moons
* Saturn: Known for its rings
* Uranus: Coolest planet (only visible in reflected light)
* Neptune: Darkest and farthest planet from the Sun
4. Compare and Contrast the Planets: Use pictures/diagrams to compare and contrast the planets. Talk about the differences in size, atmosphere, moons, and distance from the Sun.
1. Discuss the Distance of the Planets from the Sun: Explore the scale of the Solar System by comparing the difference in distances from the Sun of different planets.
2. Review 3-D Model: Review the 3-D Solar System model and its components.
3. Explore Asteroid Belts: Discuss the asteroid belt that surrounds the Solar System, where most of the asteroids are located.
4. Introduce Comets and Meteors: Discuss comets and meteors and how they travel around the Sun and occasionally crash into planets.
1. Visit a Planetarium: Visit a planetarium and observe the stars, planets, and other objects in the sky.
2. Research Mission to Mars: Have children research the planned mission to Mars and discuss how astronauts will traverse the planet.
3. Watch a documentary: Watch a documentary about the Solar System and explore more in-depth facts about the planets.
4. Field Trip to Observatory: Visit a local observatory to take a look through a telescope at the night sky and see the planets, stars, and other objects up close.