13 Planets

Last week, we found 13 Planets at the library and since then Froggy has been fascinated with the planets.  So that is what we have been studying.  I used her fascination with the planets to show her how scientific thinking changes over time.  I pulled out a book we fell in love ages ago, Mother Sun and Her Planet Children.  In this book, there are 9 planets the way I was taught as a child.  I also checked out Eight Spinning Planets, from our library.  We looked at the publication dates and talked out when each book was written.
13 Planets does a good job of explaining the change over time and why scientists think what they currently do.  It also makes it very clear that 13 is not the final number. The current theory is that there are 3 groups of planets, the terrestrial planets which are the inner four; Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.  There are the Gas Giants - Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus.  And then there are the dwarf planets, which according to 13 Planets  are currently listed as Pluto, Ceres, Eris, Haumea and MakeMake. I tried really hard to emphasize to Froggy that these are the dwarf planets we know of at the time.  We are focusing on knowing the terrestrial planets and the Gas Giants and just knowing that the dwarf planets exist. 

It was neat as we were learning about Jupiter's Great Red Spot, Froggy said, "ah ha so that is what they are talking about".  She then ran and got one of her story books, Karen's Nanny  In it, the girls do a project on Jupiter.  It was fun to see her make the connection and see that sometimes the stuff in her story books is real.

Later while gathering supplies for a different project, Froggy announced that she wanted to make a planet poster instead. This idea morphed into a model of the planets.  We pulled out the playdough and dug in.  She did a great job making the planets.  She used the pictures in 13 Planets to show the relative size and built her planet balls accordingly.  She never got around to putting them into a real solar system but did great work and spent lots of time exploring.


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