Cubic Metre kit can be purchased through Every Educaid. - Chanda.

- this file contains notes for teachers to help them as they work to provide children with ideas around relative size. For teachers – as you work through these ideas I am sure you will have other things to add. Please let me know so I can add to our body of knowledge and make things more fascinating for the children?

Water on Mars - this is the latest image released by nasa

Ikm walk ideas for your classroom (Innes)

For the I km walk try and get a straight piece of road / beach and don't really say anything, just wander to the start. A good idea to take a camera or video camera.
I would talk about where we are:
what is a long walk?
What is a long car ride?
Is Wellington a long way away?
Is Auckland?
What is the furthest they have ever been and was that a long way?

Now our sun - what is it like? How hot is it? How much of its heat do you
think we get (it can burn us really badly)
Chat giving no information just thinking out loud.

One of the kids will have the sun and put it down at ground zero. Maybe prop
it up so you can see it as you walk away. As you walk follow the
instructions and place the planets (well the pretend ones and remember this
model IS CORRECT for size and distance). Maybe at each one you turn around
and take a digital picture back towards the sun. This will be handy for a keynote/powerpoint/podcast presentation.

Go for the walk - keep wondering.
When you stop at Earth ask the question, I wonder how much sun light hits us?
Do we start to realise the millionths is extremely tiny and that if we get just that one little beam (a
piece of string like) and that keeps us going then what does that say about the sun?)

Now wander on - chat and drop and look back and photograph

We have just landed something on Mars
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/main/index.html
How did we manage to hit it?
Talk about orbits. We are dropping things in a straight line, this is not reality. These tiny things are in orbit around the sun.
I wonder about years / seasons / days.
Did you notice that the Phoenix (landed on Mars 10 days ago) was launched on the 4th of August LAST year!

Once you get to Pluto turn around and just let them reflect on what they have done - then go back to some of those questions.
How much sunlight do you think gets to here (they can go and research conditions on Pluto), why would we want to go there?
If one infinitesimally small bit of sunlight gets here, from that thing away back there which you can't see any more, what does our sun look like from Pluto?
You got it and I hope they do - it looks like any other star in the sky - in fact it will not be an over bright one!!

Now we are standing here on Pluto, which is no longer a planet, staring on into space. Going where no man has gone before. We know (well not really) that there are billions and billions of stars out there. How many in our galaxy?
http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=31)

OK back to thinking about how far we have walked. We can feel that distance. Someone will have another sun sized disk in their hands.
Have the kids look at it and think about it. It is our nearest solar neighbour Alpha Centauri. Have them all write down how far they think they would have to walk,thinking geographically, before they dropped it in its right place so that our walk was from our sun to our nearest neighbour.
I wonder how long it would take to walk there if it takes about 20 minutes to walk 1km?
When they get back get them to put both their reflections and where they
think they would drop Alpha Centauri onto their wiki, in their books or onto this space.

I would leave the bits representing the planets out as they might carry on wondering. But as you wander back talk about all of that bright burning light from the sun - if we only get a tiny, about a million tiny's, amount where does the rest go?

The kids will need a lot of think space for these concepts especially when you get to light years and things like the relative distance to Alpha Centauri (to complete our model) and even when they do it they probably won't be able to comprehend or believe it - it should be the start of a journey not an answer.

For those who don't think wikipeadia is an authoritative source have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars
There are 50 stellar systems within 16 light years and just our galaxy alone is 100 000 light years across.

http://www.solstation.com/stars/s10ly.htm

Do you now how many galaxies there are?
http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/021127a.html