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Playdough Planets

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Patrons create rocky planets out of play dough, and then learn about distances in our Solar System by placing them the correct distance apart.

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Related Programming Resources

Hints for uses in your library If you don’t have the funds to purchase enough play dough, check out the “related links” for a recipe! If the math concepts are too challenging for a younger group, show them the sizes, omitting the math portion.
Related Links Websites:
NASA Space Place: Solar System
NASA Solar System Exploration
Different Gravity
Simulating the Low-Gravity Conditions of Space in the Lab
What is a Planet?
Our Solar System
Explore the solar system
Secrets of the Solar System Family
The Other Distant Giants Are Kindred Planets with Individual Quirks
Inner, Rocky Neighbors Are Siblings to Earth
Countless Small Objects Are Part of Our Solar System's Extended Family
Solar System in My Neighborhood: Planet Sizes and Distances
Optional: Family Portrait...in Numbers
NISE Network: Strategies for Approaching Common Misconceptions Around Difficult Scientific Concepts

Games, apps, and simulations:
NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System
Learn about our home planet, our solar system, the universe beyond, and the spacecraft exploring them with this downloadable application
A tediously accurate scale model of the solar system (scroll to explore)
NGSS Standards Guide
Create your own playdough
Check your math with a solar system calculator

Images:
Jupiter and its Moons
Mars Exploration
Mercury
Neptune and its Moons
Saturn
Uranus

Videos:
Stories of our Solar System
Solar System Exploration: Nat Geo
Video: A Stunning Scale Model of Our Solar System, Drawn in the Desert
How big is the solar system?
Where does the solar system end? A video about the Oort Cloud - Space Place in a Snap!
NISE Network: Strategies for Approaching Common Misconceptions Around Difficult Scientific Concepts
Originating Source LASP/Discover NASA, inspired by Inspiration for the activity provided by Worlds in Comparison from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Astronomy from the Ground Up.
Related Books
[Suggest a book]
How Many Planets Circle the Sun?: And Other Questions About Our Solar System
The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home
The Darkest Dark
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
Space Machines
2018 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide
My tourist guide to the solar system and beyond
Look Inside Space
The Planets in Our Solar System:
The Planets
The Magic School Bus Lost In The Solar System
13 Planets : the Latest View of the Solar System
Postcards from Pluto : a Tour of the Solar System

Reviews

 
Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
04/30/2018

Interesting project

I tried this project out in an educator's training session. It was interesting to physically see the differences in sizes between the moon, Earth, and Mars, as well as figure out and see the distance between them. I also liked how it involved weighing and measuring the materials, as it enforces math skills.
In terms of working with the project with kids, it is definitely best for an older crowd, 5th grade and up, because of the weighing and measuring involved. I'd also pair it with something more active (like the Crater Creations project). Combined, the two would make for a fun and engaging program.

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Playdough Planets

Playdough Planets

Patrons create rocky planets out of play dough, and then learn about distances in our Solar System by placing them the correct distance apart.