We started Apologia’s Astronomy book this week and made it through the first chapter, complete with a planet model using balloons as the first project. To add to the fun, we used a later chapter’s guide to how far away to space the “planet” balloons from the sun. (Using this extremely scaled down guide, the planets would be much, much larger than they really are compared to the distance they are from the sun. But all models have their weaknesses.)
Anyway, I had purchased some really, really big balloons so that I could make the “Sun” very large. I blew that yellow balloon up as far as I could while still being able to tie it off. I was in the process of hanging up Uranus when there was a large explosion that nearly made me fall off the couch. (I was setting a very bad example by standing on the top of the couch to hang the planets.) Child #2 turned to me with really large eyes and asked, “Mommy, why did the sun explode?”
Sure enough, the yellow balloon had popped with no children within five feet of it. I selected another one and blew it up – but not nearly as big as the last time. The children all implored me not to make this sun explode as well.
All the children were amazed at how far away the “planets” got from the sun. When we were hanging “Pluto” up in the hallway, a long distance from our “sun,” Child #2 again turned to me with big eyes.
“Mommy, we have to move the Sun. Pluto is COLD!”
(And yes, we are aware of the fact that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. We just choose to continue to include it in our study of the planets. We will explain the discussion surrounding it when we get to that chapter.)