The planets : The solar system : Part 2

We studied the Solar System the last 3 weeks of our homeschool year, as I posted yesterday.  You can read more about the other projects and the list of books, videos and websites we used too!

We just finished last week, and we all had a lot of fun.  As always, so much to learn, so much to read and make and do… we could do more, and I think we might do some other projects during the summer, because it is fun.


We studied something new each day. I think we could have done more, but we wanted to finish the same day than Mark did.  So one day per planet.  One day for stars including the sun and another day for constellations.  And for this we could have studied a lot more.  We are barely starting to understand.

DSC_0479-smallWe drew all the planets.  Siena and I decided to make them in watercolor.

DSC_0478-small DSC_0477-smallLucas made them in pencil.

And then we also made wooden planets.  This was one of my favorite activities.  I ordered wooden balls of different sizes and a ring, from Casey’s Wood Products.

DSC_0001-smallSiena and Lucas made the puzzle we have, to compare the sizes between the planets, the colors, in relationship to each other. It was fun listening to their comments and their thoughts of what was bigger and how much bigger, in comparison.

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Then we painted them with watercolors.

DSC_0013-small DSC_0014-small DSC_0017-small DSC_0018-small DSC_0019-small DSC_0020-smallUranus has a little stand, because we learned it spins on its side.  OK, so I don’t know if when I studied the Solar System in school scientists didn’t know as many details as I learned the last 3 weeks or maybe I wasn’t paying attention in class back then.  But I know a lot more now, than I did a month ago! And I also know that when I studied the Solar System, we had 9 planets.


But oh this project.  We were all excited to make them and they turned out so pretty!  I got the idea from Playful Learning.  Thanks! What an inspiration.


I also used these cards to review.  And this printout of the planets to review them each day.

And then I remembered we went to see an exhibit of LEGOS at OMSI last year, and that we had seen the planets then.  And on a side note, OMSI has now a new exhibit.  Mummies of the World.  Exciting and so interesting.  After having studied Ancient Egypt just last month (and even mummifying a Barbie!) we are all intrigued and trying to decide who wants to go see this exhibit.  


Now we can all say all the planets in order from the sun, say where their name came from, in order in size, say how many rings each one has, how many moons they have, name some moons even, and which one is the hottest, and other facts that we each wanted to learn.  But most importantly, we can also say which one we would go visit if we could.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

DSC_0037-small DSC_0036-small

And we actually have two more planets than no one has studied yet.

NOTE : September 27, 2013: I responded to a comment here below about the size of wooden balls we used.  I don’t have the list of the exact sizes we ordered, because we had some wooden balls already, and we seem to need them from time to time for other projects.  So I went ahead and ordered different sizes, a couple of each, and after studying the sizes, I order 3 and 4 of some, knowing we would have left overs.  I know, not a very economical way to make this project.  But as I said, we do use them for other projects.  So I had the kids pick the right sizes, depending on what we had just studied.  It worked out great, in my opinion.

But I found this project on making a planetary model and also of a solar system mobile in this book, and they have a list of plastic foam balls to get for that project.  I thought it might help you know the sizes they are using for these projects. 

If you are using Pluto, 1/2- inch ball.  Mercury, Earth, Venus and Mars, 1-inch ball. Uranus and Neptune, 2-inch ball.  Jupiter and Saturn, 3-inch ball.  Sun, 6-inch ball. 

I used different sizes, a little smaller for all of them, especially for the sun since I couldn’t find one that big, and also more expensive.  But this might be a good way to estimate the differences between them. Hope it helps!


2 thoughts on “The planets : The solar system : Part 2

  1. harmony August 22, 2013 / 10:43 am

    Could you list what size wooden balls you used for each planet?

    • NaturallyFunDays : Marcela August 22, 2013 / 4:19 pm

      Hello Harmony. I don’t have the answer to your question. I bought a few of different sizes of balls. Then I had my kids pick, after we had studied the planets, the sizes for each planet. I know this meant to buy extras, but we had some balls from other projects, and I knew the extra ones we’d use for something else later on. I know I only bought 1 of the biggest ball, for the Sun. But for the planets I bought 2-3 of each, since some of the planets are similar in sizes. But I felt that having my kids pick from the group of balls, comparing the sizes, made them think, discuss among them, decide, and it was a great way for them to reinforce or learn (now hands on) what the relationship between the planets were. I bought the balls online on because they were a lot cheaper than what I saw at the craft store.

      I know this is not the answer you needed, but maybe if you don’t want to buy extra balls, you can decide on the size of planets you’d like to have, and buy them in relation to each other.

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