Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Seriously Spectacular Space Projects

2 Summers ago I saw these little bags of styrofoam balls at DollarTree. They caught my attention instantly because an idea had already been tumbling around in my head for a couple of years but
styrofoam balls from the craft store are ridiculously overpriced, especially when you need about 8 (sorry Pluto :{ ) for 25 or so kids.  

I just couldn't believe how perfect these little $1 bags were.  Each one has 8 styrofoam balls AND 4 of them are small and 4 of them are larger!  Could it be more perfect?  
(Well... actually, yes, I suppose it could, and I did have a little discussion with my kiddos about how these 8 little balls weren't PERFECTLY proportionate to all 8 planets, but they are perfect for approximately representing the 4 inner Rocky Midgets and the 4 outer Gas Giants.) 

Anyway, I'm sure you can see where this was headed.  I saw the bags;  The idea was already brewing and just waiting to burst out of my brain; I had to buy them, that is 30 bags of them.  :)  So there they sat in my classroom cupboard for 2 years waiting for the perfect opportunity to be put to use.  I wanted to use them with my little firsties last year but it just seemed like a little much.  So this year when I switched to third grade the timing was perfect and they couldn't have turned out any more amazing!


I gave each student a little bag of balls and a note of instructions that explained that they needed to represent the sun, all 8 planets, (and Pluto if they wanted), the stars, and the asteroid belt and each celestial body needed to be labeled.  I gave them some ideas for mounting/displayed their project and offered wire hangers for any students that wanted them, but most found their own way and they seriously turned out so awesome.  Can you believe 3rd graders did this?

We left them on display in the entryway of the school and they were quite the hit!  

Some kids cut them in half and mounted them.  Some kids used wires and sticks to mount them.  Some hung them.  
Quite simply: They were amazing.
This one was quite possibly my favorite. It's impossible to tell from this poor phone photo, but she went far above and beyond.  She labeled several stars and even added little labeled moons to the planets with toothpicks.  And of course you can just barely see little Pluto there on the end.  The whole thing was about 5-6 feet long and pretty impressive hanging from our ceiling.

When we were all finished learning about the solar system and completing our Planet Books, (click image to purchase)

and had finished our test, we celebrated by making delectable Solar System Cookies. 

I haven't quite caught back up with blogging/teaching/mommying/and creating teaching projects... so I don't have a picture of the 3rd grade cookies from this year, but here's one from a few years ago.  You can check out more details about the cookies and a few highlights of our Space activities from last year here.  

1 comment:

  1. Did you create a rubric to go with this project? I love it! :)
    Planning out something similar for my 5th graders and this is the closest one that I have come to what I have in mind.


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