You may have stayed up late to finish, asked your parents or older siblings for help or even slaved away for weeks making your model solar system back in the sixth grade; just about every student is required to make a model solar system at some point. However you created your model solar system, you learned the names of the planets and the position of each in the solar system. While the concept of a model solar system hasn’t changed much over the years, there is one major difference between the solar system you created and the ones your kids will create: Pluto is, as of 2006, no longer considered the ninth planet but merely a dwarf planet, leaving only eight planets in the solar system. Your kid’s model system has one less planet to create and hang.
Gather a paper plate, string, a sharp pen or pencil, construction paper and some crayons or markers.
Draw the planets and the sun on the construction paper, careful that each planet represents its actual size; for example, Jupiter is the largest planet followed by Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury. The sun is the largest star in the solar system; its mass is approximately 99 percent of the solar system.
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Color the sun, Saturn and Venus yellow, Mercury orange, the Earth green and blue, Mars red, Uranus green, Neptune blue and Jupiter yellow, brown, green and white.
Poke small holes in the top of each planet with the sharp end of a pen or pencil. Poke a hole in the center of the paper plate and poke eight holes in various distances surrounding the center hole in the plate.
Tie string to each planet and stick the string through the holes in the paper plate to hang your planets. Tape the end of the string to the top of the paper plate to keep each planet hanging. The sun goes in the center of the paper plate. Mercury is hung from the hole closest to the sun followed by Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Hang your paper plate solar system model from the ceiling or a tall object.