Accessible Solar System on a String
This activity has benefited from input from a review and suggestion process as a part of an activity development workshop.
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process as a part of an activity development workshop. Workshop participants were provided with a set of criteria against which they evaluated each others' activities. For information about the criteria used for this review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/teacherprep/workshops/workshop07/activityreview.html.
This page first made public: May 2, 2007
In this earth and space science activity, students with and without disabilities use their senses to investigate the scale of the solar system. With the sun the size of a bell - they can walk off the distance to Neptune. Students describe their observations (oral and written).
Upon completion of this interactive activity students should be able to: identify the planets in our solar system, Sun, planets, and small objects in the Solar System.
Context for Use
This activity may be used in both formal and informal education settings for introductory-level classes and or demonstrations. Kids of all ages appreciate this activity. Small groups or teams may facilitate the project. The activity may take place over a 2 hour period - as one unit or broken up, with discussion about the solar system and planets woven in.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Teachers / Facilitators may want to have one of the 'Solar System on a String' models prepared as a demo for the class to refer to while they are creating their own solar systems. NOTE: the bead (planet) colors really do not matter - let the students be creative.
Have each student 'explore' the solar system by closing their eyes and following the string from the sun to Neptune. Have them name each planet along their tour. Upon completion of their tour, let each student describe of their experience.
References and Resources
These two sites are ADA and 508 compliant, thus students with and without disabilities can access the data and explore them:
Exploring the Solar System
Solar System Simulator
Controlled Vocabulary Terms
Subject: Physics:Astronomy, Geoscience:Lunar and Planetary Science
Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity, Field Activity, Lab Activity
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
Ready for Use: Ready to Use
Earth System Topics: Solar System and Astronomy