The Solar System
What? A scale model of the Solar System?
Yes! In January of 2016 participants in our Seattle, WA arts-enrichment program studied painting and scale via an astronomy-themed lesson plan.
Our participants, ages 5 through 10, painted all of the planets (and a few dwarf planets too). We then created a region-wide art installation by placing scale-sized images (either on the sidewalk or on sandwich boards) at an accurate scale distance from our 18 foot wide sidewalk painting of the sun. Our planets spanned out from there throughout Seattle and out into our surrounding farmland.
Planet Nine even caught a ride to its real scale-distance location in Missoula, MT.
Our installation caught the interest of SeattleAstronomy.com.
A huge thank you to Keith Envoldsen for his site, which was an epic help to our educators! Inspired in by our use of his online model generator, Keith has recently modified and expanded its function to include the orbit of the newly discovered “Planet 9.”
We also sang several space-related songs this month, including the well-known Schoolhouse Rock song, “Interplanet Janet” by Tony-Award winning composer, musician, lyricist , and 2015 Broadway Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Lynn Ahrens! As it happened, this was about the 4th or 5th Lynn Ahrens connection we’d had that year with our inquiry-led study, so the kids wrote her letters about her music and her influence and to thank her. Ms. Ahrens very kindly wrote back. Our participants were thrilled! Thank you, Lynn!
Want To Learn More?
- Our project in not alone in the universe! Click here to find out about other Solar System projects.
- Find out what happens when you take an idea for a temporary project like this and push to make it permanent.
- Translate walking speed to light speed.
- Compare the sizes of planets, side by side.
- Click here for an online scale model of the Solar System
- Here are some orreries (an orrery is a clockwork or map of where the planets are).
- Where are the planets right now? Where will they be on a certain date? Here’s the answer.
- Would you like to ask astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson some astronomy questions? Of course you would!
- Shortcut to figuring out the scale of Solar System objects, based on inputting a different sun size.
- Check NASA’s most recent word on Pluto’s status.
- Planet Nine news.