Some Social Studies Games for Today...


I'm at home with the flu... yuck.  It's not fun.  For class today I've placed the link to eight different Social Studies games below.  I'd like you to spend class playing them all (about 5 minutes on each).  Then, at the end of class, (with 10 minutes left) write a short paragraph on lined paper explaining 2 to 3 things that you learned while playing them. 

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Solar System Project
The 3rd Grape from the Sun Project
Creating a Scale Model of the Solar System (using everyday objects)
Due: Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 

Summary: For part one, create a group video which shows the true scale/size/distance of objects in the Solar System using everyday objects.  After that, complete the questions on part two.  Your project must have both the VIDEO and the QUESTIONS completed for Mr. Piercey to accept your work. 

Part One: The Video (80 Points) 

  • Students will be working on this project in self-selected groups.  
  • Your group’s video must show the accurate size and distance of objects in the solar system (to scale).  In other words, if the Sun were the size of a soccer ball, what would be the size and distance of every other planet in the Solar System?
  • Every student who worked on your video MUST appear in your video.  
  • Please use the FOUR example websites and videos I’ve provided to help.  
  • Your group’s video (once completed) can either be shared with Mr. Piercey on a private Youtube Video, uploaded to Google Drive, put on a DVD, or simply put on a computer/iPad/phone and brought to class.  If you need help editing or creating the video, please email Mr. Piercey at
  • Your video must be less than seven minutes long.  
  • Your video must include text that shows the size and distance of the planets to scale.  For example, “At this scale, Jupiter would be the size of a grape and 378 feet away from the sun”.  

Suggestion: Plan out where your planets would be using Google My Maps ( before creating your video. 

Helpful websites/videos to create your project: 
Website #1:
Website #2:
Website #3:
Website #4:

Other Helpful Info
The diameter of a soccer ball is about 8.5 inches
A basketball’s diameter is about 9.25 inches

Objects that must be in your video:

  • The Sun (I recommend using a soccer ball or a basketball)
  • The 8 planets (I recommend using everyday household objects, like in some of the provided videos): Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

Optional objects - The Asteroid Belt, Pluto (Mr. Piercey wishes it was still a planet!), the moon/other moons, comets, or any other “objects” - no UFOs, please!   

Helpful info:

The other planets’ diameters (distance across the middle) compared to Earth:
Mercury = 1/3 x Earth
Venus = Earth
Earth = Earth
Mars = 1/2 x Earth
Jupiter = 11 x Earth
Saturn = 9 x Earth
Uranus = 4 x Earth
Neptune = 4 x Earth
Part Two: The Questions (20 Points) 

These can be either SHARED with Mr. Piercey on a Google Document, neatly HANDWRITTEN on a piece of paper, or typed and PRINTED using a computer at home.  These MUST be answered in complete sentences.  These questions must be answered individually.  They are NOT group work. 

1. Come up with easy to understand definitions for the following terms.  Don’t just copy them down from the Internet; put them in your own words: Scale, Diameter, Distance, Orbit, Revolution, Moon, Dwarf Planet, Kuiper Belt
2. What was the most challenging part of creating your video?
3. Share one lesson about the scale and size of the Solar System you learned when you were creating your film. 
4. If you were sitting on the planet Neptune, would the sun appear brighter or dimmer than on Earth?  Explain. 
5. Why do planets orbit around the sun?  Explain (don’t just say “gravity”).
6. Do planets (like Earth) create their own heat and energy?  Explain why or why not. 

Bonus - 5 Points Each
7. Challenge (optional): At the scale you created, how far away would the closest galaxy to the Milky Way be?  Explain how you figured it out.
8. Challenge (optional): Explain why Pluto isn’t recognized as a “planet” anymore. 
9. Challenge (optional):  Come up with an valid argument for why Pluto SHOULD still be a planet. 

~Mr Piercey
Eminence Independent Schools
Follow Me on Twitter @MrPiercey
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