When one thinks of the various planets constituting our Solar System (no longer including Pluto), it is difficult to picture the vast distances between them. Various activities help in visualizing an accurate representation, rather than textbook-style diagrams like this:
One activity, The Thousand-Yard Model or, The Earth as a Peppercorn, has participants construct a model Solar System that shows relative size of the planets (using everday objects) as well as their distances from the Sun (bowling ball) and each other. Having kids count out the series of steps keeps it interesting. We did it along N. Channel Ave. in North Portland (can you see the purple line?):
Enjoy the photos:
What an active exercise to get across a hard concept: distance in space. At your computer, you can play around with this scale model of the Solar System. Pay good attention!