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TEACHER'S

Paper Mache Planets

Create paper mache planets that are out of this world!

Skill Level: Moderate
Time Needed: 1 hour a day for 2 days
Age(s): 8 to 12

Supplies Needed

Instructions

DAY ONE:
  1. Cover a flat surface with newspaper.
  2. Mix about 1/4 cup of glue and a small amount of water in a medium-sized bowl. The mixture should be runny.
  3. Tear the newspaper into small strips.
  4. Blow up several round balloons.
  5. Dip the strips of newspaper into the glue mixture. Cover each balloon entirely with wet strips. Smooth out any bumps or bubbles with your fingers. Allow the balloons to dry overnight.
DAY TWO:
  1. Decorate the balloons to look like your favorite planets.
  2. Add rings to the planets with construction paper and glue.
  3. Let the paint and the glue dry completely.
  4. Display your planets for everyone to see!

Time-Saving Hints:

  • Place a blown-up balloon—tied end down—in a small bowl. The bowl will hold the balloon steady while you work.
  • After dipping each strip of newspaper into the glue mixture, run it between two of your fingers to remove the excess mixture.

Teaching Tips:

  • Have students research each of the eight planets in the solar system—Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupitar, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Ask students to use note cards to record the information that they discover. On the front of the cards, have students list interesting facts about the planets.
  • Are students familiar with the term dwarf planet? If not, explain it to them. In August of 2006, the International Union (IAU) re-categorized Pluto as a dwarf planet. A dwarf planet is a celestial body that 1) orbits around the Sun 2) has a nearly round shape 3) has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit and 4) is not a satellite. There are currently four dwarf planets. Have students research and identify each one.
  • Talk about how distance and measurements in space are gigantic. Compare the different diameters and masses of the planets. Discuss the planets' distances from the Sun. Use the large measurements as an opportunity to talk about exponents as a shortened way to show numbers.
  • Remembering the order of the planets from the Sun can be difficult. Encourage students to create a poem to help them remember the order. For example, Many Very Entertaining Monkeys Just Sat Under Noodles.