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    Home / Science projects / Sun and Planets Science Projects
    • Sun and Planets Science Projects

      Sun and Planets Science Projects

      Make a Solar System Model

      Make your own model of the solar system! It will help you learn the order that the planets orbit around the sun.

      What You Need:

      What You Do:

      1. Ask a parent or your teacher to read to you about the planets from the Teacher Tidbits section on the sun and planets. This will help you learn about the physical characteristics of each planet (like how big it is and what its surface is like) and the order of the planets.
      2. Print out this coloring page of the eight planets.
      3. Based on what you learned about the size and surface of the planets, figure out which planet is which and then color the planets the right colors.
      4. Cut out a large circle from the yellow construction paper to be the sun.
      5. Placing the sun down first, lay out the planets in order away from the sun. (Hint: The correct order that the planets orbit around the Sun is: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune!)
      6. To make your model of the solar system more permanent, glue the sun and planets onto a large piece of cardboard or tag board. You could even paint the board black to make it look like space.

      What Happened:

      You just made a model of the solar system! It represents the way the planets are positioned and the different sizes and colors that each one is. The planets always remain in this order; they can't change because they all have their own orbit that they constantly follow around the sun! However, this model does not show you how far apart the planets are from each other. They are so far away that you would not be able to represent the distance on a single piece of cardboard.

      To learn more, use this site as a guide to make a scale model of the solar system. Even though your scale model will only be a fraction of the size of the actual solar system, it will give you a better idea of how big it really is and how much space is out there!

      Here is another project: try making your own simple telescope to get a better view of the moon and stars.


      The Color of Mars

      What causes the different colors of the planets? Scientists have theories (guesses based on what they have seen and learned) about why a planet is a certain color, but often they don't know what causes the colors of the planets, especially the planets that are farthest away from us. Try this experiment to demonstrate one of the theories about why Mars has such a red surface.

      What You Need:

      What You Do:

      1. Put a layer of sand in the bottom of the baking dish.
      2. Cut the steel wool into 1 inch pieces with the scissors and mix the pieces with the sand. (Or, instead of using steel wool, you can sprinkle iron filings on top of the sand.)
      3. Cover the mixture with water and check it every day to see if you notice any changes.
      4. As water evaporates from the dish, add more so that the sand is always wet.

      What Happened:

      After a few days, you should notice the sand starting to turn red. This happens because the oxygen in the water combines with the iron in the steel wool or the iron filings. This caused a chemical reaction that produced iron oxide, which is also known as rust. As you can see from your experiment, rust has a red color to it. Scientists think that the surface of Mars is red because there is iron oxide (rust) in the soil.

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