We went to the soccer field at the park today and made a "solar system." I taped a picture of the sun and each of the planets (and I had to include poor little Pluto, although we talked about the fact that it is not really considered a planet anymore) to a bamboo skewer to make a stake of each one. Our curriculum told us how many baby steps to Mercury, how many giant, giant steps to Saturn, etc... There is still snow on the ground but it is crunchy by now, so it was actually very easy to put our stakes in the ground. Granted, my "planets" were not very big and were on white paper, but by the time we got to little ole Pluto, we could not see the "sun" stake anymore. (I was disappointed when I got there and realized I had forgotten my camera. Grrr.)
The idea of the activity was to get some sense of the huge scale of just our solar system - this activity tied in the with bible lesson of God telling Abram that he would have more descendants that he could count stars in the sky. I was truely struck by the fact that out of the hugeness of creation, God sent his Son to die for us little peons.
We also talked about the sun. I'm also blown away by our Creator God and the fact that the Earth is the perfect distance from the Sun - any closer and we would be burned up, and any farther away and we would freeze. I find it hard to believe that many feel the more "reasonable" theory is that that just happened. Ah, but that is a topic for another time.
And, we discussed the order of the planets and how important the sun is to our well-being (science), how to protect our skin from the sun (health), counted our steps and measured our steps in feet and inches (math), and got some good exercise (PE). Overall, one of our more active and integrated school days - I love those days!