This month we have been starting our study of the solar system in my classroom. When I taught in a Montessori preschool about a decade ago, I had purchased the book Exploring Space from Evan-Moor. This book is a fantastic resource of information, printables and activities. Although it is intended for first through third graders, I have been able to adapt many things to make them appropriate for younger children.
One project that has been out for about a week now is this solar system model. Below you can see how I have it set up. The materials are on top of the shelf with the sample project attached to the back of the shelf. Two children at a time may do this activity. They sit at the two white tables facing the shelf.
The materials shown here are: copies of the planets printed on white cardstock and a basket of colored pencils. (NOTE: The printable is from the Evan-Moor book I linked to. However, Coloring Castle has some similar ones that are free to print, both with and without Pluto.) I have included Pluto in my project since my sample already had it. However, I have told the children that scientists no longer consider Pluto to be a planet.
Next on the shelf are: scissors, a bowl with "suns", a pencil, glue sticks and vinyl gluing mats.
To do this work, the child first colors the planets using the colored pencils. Then they cut out the planets. After they have colored and cut, they ask a teacher for a long piece of blue paper (two pieces of 6X18 inch paper taped together) and glue the planets in order as shown below, placing the sun at the far left.
The next two photos show close-up views of one child's finished project.
"Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto way out far.
These are all nine planets that revolve around the sun. They are found in outer space and now our song is done."
If you have a similar version without Pluto, I'd love to hear your lyrics.