Planets and Playdough with Middle School Math Buddies

Sixth grade and kindergarten buddies worked together to make a three-dimensional and proportional representation of our solar system.



Did you know Jupiter makes up 60% of the entire solar system’s mass? We started out with a big ball of Playdough and divided it into 10 proportional parts, six of them being Jupiter. Then we divided the other half into smaller parts to compare Jupiter and Saturn. Then again we divided the leftover Playdough into 10 proportional parts and this showed the kindergarten how small Uranus, Neptune, Earth, Mars, Venus, and Mercury are compared to Jupiter and Saturn. Even we sixth graders were shocked at how small some of the planets were compared to others. 


From this experiment, we are taking away life skills for working with others, having to read multiple steps, and being very careful and thoughtful. Sixth graders will be calculating each planet’s percentage of the entire solar system's mass and writing ratios relative to size. As kindergarteners explore space and sixth graders review ratios, proportions, and percentages, this is an excellent experiment to represent both.


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