Solar System on the Celing

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by h2omane, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Apr 8, 2007

    Hi All,

    Happy Easter.

    I would like to make a solar system out of half spheres that I can attach to my classroom celing. I would like to try and have the planets and milky way belts as close to a scale that can fit a classroom celing.

    Do any of you have a scale referenceing chart that shows what an everyday object such as a basketball, is in reference to a planet, such as jupiter?

    Thanks so much.
    Mr. Skinner :D
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 8, 2007

    I once asked my late friend Jon Hodge, who ran the planetarium at Santa Monica College, what he really wished that teachers could know. His answer follows:

    "Well, the basic scale of the universe, even the solar system, is beyond most adults, let alone kids. The planets and stars are really far apart. I use analogies a lot to try to get the concepts across. If you could drive, at the legal speed limit, on a freeway from here to the Moon, it would take about 5 months of constant driving. To get to the Sun at that rate would take about 350 years, to get to Jupiter (at its closest) would take about 1500 years, and to get to Pluto (at its farthest) would take about 13,000 years. Of course, rockets travel much faster than cars, but still it will take the 'New Horizons' Pluto probe (to be launched next January) almost 10 years to get to Pluto flyby. BTW to get to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system at Space Shuttle orbital velocity would take about 160,000 years. If you can just get the enormity of space ('You may think it's a long way down to the local chemist...') across to more people, especially teachers, that would be quite a victory."

    I just Googled "solar system scale" and came up with these:

    http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/ This is actually a calculator: enter the diameter of sun you want, and it does the rest. At the end of the page is a sobering reflection to the effect that if the Sun is represented as one inch in diameter, the solar system is over 300 feet in diameter, Jupiter's going to be about 1/8 inch, and the inner planets are basically dust specks.

    http://www.vendian.org/mncharity/dir3/solarsystem/. This is a "meta page": it's a series of links to sites about scale models of the universe.
     
  4. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Apr 8, 2007

    You are amazing!

    Thanks so Much. The kids will love the fact that the sun is only 1 inch, on the ceiling, and everything else is roughly pin heads in diameter. plus it wont take me light years to set up.

    Thanks.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 8, 2007

    Me, amazing? Nah: just handy with Google.

    Your room's 300-plus feet long??

    Seriously: let me recommend, for the planets, arrows with labels showing where they are (it should be easy to make arrow labels in MS Word).
     
  6. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Apr 8, 2007

    Your room's 300-plus feet long??

    I can set up the solar system outside, and for the celing I would have a ~ squiggle to show a gap in the size of the orbit.

    I've got 2 years to figure this one out, I'm still a student teacher :)
     
  7. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    Apr 9, 2007

    :) this is a great idea! very cute. if you look at scholastic there is a poster that they sent out a couple weeks ago that has the scaling in reference to if the sun was a pumpkin. It uses all fruit like cantalop, blueberries, oranges, and things. It's a great poster!
     
  8. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Apr 9, 2007

    Word of warning...if the fire marshal pays visits to your school be prepared to have to take it down. He made us take down our "flaming pumpkins". Nothing from the ceiling. :( For our LEAP and iLEAP (state testing) week I decorate the hall with all sorts of frogs (beach balls, inflatable pool rings, wind chimes, flags, etc - I collect frogs so my problem is limiting what I put out there! :D The fire marshall always wants me to take it down. My principal always gives me a week. :p
     

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