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Grade 3-5Grade 3-5

Walk Like A Planet! – Activity to learn solar system through role play

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Number of Participants: 9+

Setting (Indoor / Outdoor): Outdoor

Estimate Execution Time: 30 mins

The activity will have children doing a role-play to understand the components of the solar system, the universe, and its connection to the sun. Children will learn about the planets, their sizes and understand the concept of revolution and rotation.

  • One yellow balloon.
  • Eight balloons of preferably different colors, otherwise – blow them in different sizes to represent the 8 planets.
  • Chalk or string to mark the orbits.
  1. Take the participants out in a garden or open area and mark 8 orbits using chalk or strings.
  2. Tell all the participants that they will be provided with different color balloons that represent the planets which are in our solar system and a yellow color balloon which represents the sun.
  3. Get one participant to hold the inflated yellow balloon. This participant will stand in the center, and all orbits will circle him, i.e. the participants holding other balloons.
  4. Provide other participants with other colored balloons and help them stand in different orbits, each representing a different planet. Try to inflate the balloons in accordance with the comparative size of the planets.
  5. The participants holding each planet balloon will then made to be standing in their respective orbits. Here the facilitator can emphasize on the fact that planets always move in their respective orbits and never leave their path.
  6. The participants now start moving in their orbits, and when they complete one circle around the participant acting as the sun, the term revolution can be introduced and explained.
  7. Similarly, now the facilitator can ask participants to slowly move and spin like a top while still walking on the orbit. This explains the term rotation.
  8. Explain that rotation is a much shorter duration than the revolution, and also talk about the different sizes of the planet, the distance from the sun and hence the difference in the duration of revolutions of all planets.
  9. Let the participants first practice and experiment individually and then gradually help them practice together as all the 8 planets revolve around the sun.
  1. Concepts of rotation and revolution to be discussed, slowly building the curiosity and focus on how a day is formed and how a year is formed.
  2. This concept can also be used for explaining the relationship between the earth and the moon.
  3. Help participants build some further curiosity in discovering more about the solar system and universe at large.
  4. Tell them to discover ‘Venus’ the shiniest object in the evening sky and tell them that it is the only planet visible to the naked eye.
  5. Ask them what do they think could there be life on other planets? If participants ask such questions, briefly tell them about how scientists are working day and night towards discovering more facts about the solar system and life on other planets.
  6. Also explain that the universe has many such solar systems and we still don’t know about a lot of things about the universe, because it is just too vast.
  1. While the participants spin for rotation, caution them against getting dizzy and ensure their movement is not very fast.
  2. The participants may collide with each other while walking in their orbits, bringing in the fun elements, tell them that the planets are good people, they don’t fight and collide with each other, they always walk in their own paths and never leave it.

The concept of formation of day and night and the relationship between sun, earth and moon along with eclipses can further be explained using our next activity.

  • The Solar System formed around 4.6 billion years ago.
  • Till 2006 there were nine planets in the solar system. Pluto was the farthest planet from the Sun. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted a new definition of a planet. Pluto does not fit this definition. It is no longer a planet of the solar system.
  • If you take a large ball which can accommodate about 1300 peas, then the ball will represent Jupiter and one pea will represent the Earth.
  • Saturn is less dense than water. If we imagine Saturn in a large pool of water then it will float.

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Written by Aditi

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