Used with permission from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 390 Ashton Ave., San Francisco, CA 94112. Originally developed by Dennis Schatz (Pacific Science Center) for Family ASTRO. Adapted by Anna Hurst. Copyright 2006 Astronomy from the Ground Up, Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
This activity demonstrates the different sizes of the nine planets in our solar system. Follow the steps outlined below to see the relative size (volume) of each planet. Start with a big three-pound ball of modeling dough, which represents the volume of all the planets combined.
1. Divide the entire ball into 10 equal parts. You may find it easiest to start by rolling the ball into one big hot-dog shape.
2. Cut the remaining part into 10 equal parts.
3. Cut the remaining part into 4 equal parts.
4. Cut the remaining part into 10 equal parts.
5. Combine the remaining 2 parts and cut into 10 equal parts.
6. Cut the remaining part into 10 equal parts.
7. Cut the remaining part into 10 equal parts.
Now that you have divided the modeling dough to represent the planets by volume, roll the pieces in each planet's box into balls to best represent the shapes of the planets.
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Last updated on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.
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