Solar System Bead Distance

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In this astronomy activity, learners create a model of the solar system using beads and string. The activity gives learners a clear idea of the immense scale of the solar system and the relative distances between planets, while also giving them practice in converting units.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • Yellow Bead
  • Red Bead
  • Cream Bead
  • 3 Blue Beads
  • Red Bead
  • Black Bead
  • Orange Bead
  • Gold Bead
  • Brown Bead
  • 4.5 Meters of String
  • Meter Sticks or Measuring Device


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
      • The Moon
      • The Planets
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009