Fast and Easy Ideas for Solar System Models

Household items and foods make good representations of the solar system.
... Jason Reed/Photodisc/Getty Images

The sun makes up the center of the solar system, and everything that revolves around this central point makes up the solar system, explains NASA. To help students understand the planets, many teachers ask students to build a solar system model. This gives a hands-on, visual representation, helping students retain the name, size and other facts about each part of the project. You can approach the assignment in a variety of ways, but using your creativity will help you form a fast and simple model.

Use household items to represent each part of the solar system. You have unlimited options, and you can choose an object that looks similar or, if the teacher allows the approach, objects that sounds similar or share other similarities. For example, you might choose balls of yarn or marbles in various sizes and colors to represent each planet and the sun. As another option, you might choose a bottle of water to represent Earth’s high percentage of water.

Select a variety of fruits and other foods to mimic the planets and other parts of the system. For the sun, you might choose an orange or grapefruit. For small planets, you might use lentils, split peas or beans to represent their size and colors. A blueberry would work well for the blue planet, Neptune. If you want a larger scope, use a casaba melon for the sun and apples, plums and other similar-sized fruits and vegetables for other planets.

Go for a walk and choose natural items to use in the project. Finding a round, colorful rock, for example, would make a good representation of one of the planets. You can also gather acorns, pinecones and shelled nuts to help you build your solar system model.

  • Make sure you read the specifications of the assignment thoroughly before choosing your approach. Some teachers may want you to use specific materials or limit the size of the project, and creating a project outside of her requirements may lower your grade.
  • To put together your model, you can use a strong cardboard base and glue your items to the cardboard. You should allow a day or two for the glue to completely dry, or you can use hot glue which dries faster.
  • If using food items to represent the solar system, use frosting to adhere the items to the cardboard and you can eat the fruit or other items. As another option, you can use a Styrofoam base and use toothpicks to apply the food items, but this could create a mess with berries or other tender food items.

Kate Beck started writing for online publications in 2005. She worked as a certified ophthalmic technician for 10 years before returning to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Beck is currently putting the finishing touches on a novel.