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Science Fun:
Our Planets Orbit the Sun

After completing the lesson Relative Size, you may find this a good continuing activity. It also works well as a stand along project.

Each of the planets in our solar system orbit the sun at a different speed. How fast they orbit depends on how far they are from the sun. Mercury, being the closest planet to the sun, orbits very fast it orbits the sun in only three months, Earth time! Pluto, the planet farthest from the sun, takes 248 Earth years to orbit the sun!!

Project Supplies:

modeling clay
nine different colors of pens or markers
a large sheet of poster board
colored paper that matches the pens or markers*


1. Use a string to draw a sun and nine circles abound it. Use a different color to draw each of the nine circles.

2. Mark twelve dots on each circle so that they are equally-spaced around the entire circle. On the small circles, the dots will be closer together than they will be on the larger circles.

3. Make 9 triangle shaped flags each of a different color of paper to match the circle color. Tape each flag to a toothpick. Stick each toothpick into a small lump of modeling clay so that it will stand up.

4. Place each flag on the first dot of each circle. The flags should match the circle color. Meaning a red flag on a red circle, a blue flag on a blue circle, a green flag on a green circle, etc.

Now to start orbiting:

5. Move each flag one dot until all the flags have all traveled 12 dots.



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