Solar System Scope
Visit the Earth and other planets from this excellent interactive site.
Look at the stars where you are now or speed up time and see where they will be in a month.
Do the stars look the same from England as they do from Egypt?
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Solar System Scope is home to a lovely interactive solar system. At a basic level, students can select a planet to learn about it’s structure or key facts. It is based on NASA data and although some of the facts and figures may be above primary science level, the site still has a lot to offer for younger learners.
Our favourite features are the date/time and location functions.
On the initial load, you see the solar system at the current date and time. You can then select another date/time or even better choose to watch the planets move forward or back in time. It is a great visualization of space and our place within it! You can clearly see the movement of the planets, relative to the Sun. You can also select the speed at which you watch which is very handy.
If you visit Earth, you can pick a direction to look to see the stars in the sky. You could then use the time and date function described above to see how the stars change through the seasons.
The location feature is slightly fiddly but well worth a play with. When ‘on the Earth’ you can easily change your location to instantly see the sky from other cities or countries. If you explore further however you can actually change your location to the moon or another planet and use the time feature to see the solar system move around you. By watching the earth you could visualize how the earth turning leads to day and night. Or by switching between views from earth or from the sun you could explain how the sun appears to move across our sky.
As well as the main interactive on the homepage, this site also has a series of lovely paper model planet patterns that you can download and make: https://www.solarsystemscope.com/paper/
You may also be interested in these lesson plans linking Sport and Space: https://pstt.org.uk/resources/curriculum-materials/city-science-stars