Skip to main content

Storytime - Pocket Solar System

Main Image
Astronomy and Space Science Volunteer Activities

Read "There's No Place Like Space" and learn about the Solar System by making a pocket diagram of the planets.

This workshop consists of two parts: a reading of "There's No Place Like Space" by Tish Rabe followed by a hands-on activity. Students will make a diagram of the planets using either receipt paper or taped-together pieces of paper. Students will learn about the relative distances of the planets, the order of the planets, and some information about the planets. 
 

What You Need

For the reading:

  • "There's No Place Like Space" by Tish Rabe

For the activity:

  • Receipt paper OR 3 pieces of standard sized blank paper
  • Crayons, pencil crayons, or markers 

PowerPoint:

What To Do

Part A: Reading of "There's No Place Like Space" by Tish Rabe

Part B: Doing the Activity

The PowerPoint for this activity also contains visual instructions.

Steps 1-3 are if you are using paper instead of receipt paper.

  1. Tape 3 pieces of paper together longwise at the tops.
  2. Cut the 3 taped pieces longwise so you have two long strands.
  3. Tape the halves together longwise, so you have 6 divisions of paper connected by tape.
  4. Label the rightmost end of the paper as the Kuiper Belt, and the leftmost as the Sun.
  5. Fold the paper in half and create a crease. Label the crease as Uranus.
  6. Fold the Kuiper Belt up to Uranus and create a crease. Label this crease as Neptune.
  7. Fold the Sun up to Uranus and create a crease. Label this crease as Saturn.
  8. Fold the Sun up to Saturn and make a crease. Label this crease as Jupiter.
  9. Take the distance from the Sun to Jupiter and fold it into equal thirds, so that you have two creases and three flat sections. Label the crease closest to the Sun as Mars.
  10. Take the distance from the Sun to Mars and fold it into equal thirds. Label the crease farthest from the Sun as Earth.
  11. Take the distance from the Sun to Earth and fold it into equal thirds. Label the crease closest to the Sun as Mercury, and the farthest crease as Venus.
  12. Now, you can draw and colour each planet at the labels!

Discovery

What's Happening?

Students will create a model of the Solar System which takes into account the relative distances of each planet from the Sun. This debunks misconceptions created when we view simplified models of the Solar System and gives them an appreciation for the sheer size of space and the planets in it. 

If time permits, students will also discuss the pros and cons of turning observations into visual models and test their predictions of what they expected the model to look like.
 

What's Happening?

Students will create a model of the Solar System which takes into account the relative distances of each planet from the Sun. This debunks misconceptions created when we view simplified models of the Solar System and gives them an appreciation for the sheer size of space and the planets in it. 

If time permits, students will also discuss the pros and cons of turning observations into visual models and test their predictions of what they expected the model to look like.
 

Investigate Further

For older audiences, you can also talk about Pluto, the relative sizing of the planets, and the constraints of Solar System models. 

Investigate Further

For older audiences, you can also talk about Pluto, the relative sizing of the planets, and the constraints of Solar System models. 

Resources