Solar System - Human Model

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Use relative sized cardboard cut-out planets and the Cubs to to represent a model of the solar system.


Cardboard circles of the following sizes:

Name Scaled Diameter (cm)
Mercury 3
Venus 6
Earth 7
Mars 4
Jupiter 70
Saturn 60
Uranus 26
Neptune 24
Pluto 1

Paints (tables /newspaper/brushes)
Colour pictures of the Planets for the painting onto cut-outs

Other Solar System facts:
It takes around 500 seconds for light (light-hours) to travel from the Sun to Pluto
It takes around 5 hours for light (light-hours) to travel from the Sun to Pluto
It is around 4.5 light-years between the Sun and the next nearest star (Proxima Centauri)


Either pre-make cut-outs circles from cardboard or allow cubs to cut out (allow extra time). These represent the planets.

Indentification and realtive sizing.
Identify the planets and their relative sizing - including Pluto. You could identify that Pluto is actually smaller than our Moon (which, using the same scale, would actually be 1.7cm).

Paint the planets by copying photo's of the planets (see file attachment).

After tidying up and a few games to (hopefully) allow paint to dry...

Relate the planets to the size of the Sun which is around 7m on the same scale - use the side of a building, or measure the distance on the floor, or if space allows (outside perhaps) - use string to draw a 7m diameter circle. Place the planets within the space to show the scale of the Sun.

Use the planets or the printed photo's to give to the cubs and then, using large steps rather than actual meter measurements, and starting with the closest to the Sun, get each Cub holding a planet to step away from the wall in the following distances:

Name Steps
Mercury 0.25
Venus 0.5
Earth 0.75
Mars 1
Jupiter 4
Saturn 7
Uranus 14
Neptune 23
Pluto 30

If you are in room that is smaller than some of the distances, the activity becomes more interesting as the Cubs are disappearing through the door - the children find this quite funny, especially if you get all the children counting as the steps are made.

The activity represents the relative sizes of the planets, and the relative distances from the Sun using the Cubs as the model.


  • astronomer
  • model
  • solar system
  • sun

Badge Links

  • Astronomer - Model or draw