This year I’ve been teaching our early elementary age Sunday School (1st through 4th or 5th grade) and we’ve been going through the account of Creation in Genesis 1 looking at what we are saying when we say “God created…” We typically spend at least two weeks on each day, and look at the actual thing created (What is light? What are it’s properties?) and also at the way that the physical is used symbolically in Scripture (What do we mean by “the light of the world”?).
Last Sunday we started a small unit on outer space, by making a scale “drawing ” of the sun and planets! I found a very useful website that enabled me to give a size for the diameter of the sun and then gave me all the measurements!
I set the size of the sun at 2 inches which made Pluto 708 feet from the sun (almost two blocks). Most of the planets were so small that we could actually draw them in sidewalk chalk- Jupiter was 5.2 mm in diameter and Pluto was too small to calculate, while Earth was only 0.4 mm!
We measured everything out, marking the locations of the planets with fact sheets weighed down by rocks. When we reached Pluto I sent one child (who happened to be wearing a bright yellow shirt back to the sun so that I could get a picture…
Click the picture to enlarge it then look past the yellow signs for a very small vertical yellow speck. That’s the location of the sun!
The children really enjoyed this project and it gave them a good sense of how far away the various planets are as well as their relative sizes