Thursday, November 19, 2015


Engineering Challenge: A Candy Solar System

Creating a solar system model presents a lot of challenges, but this candy solar system solves a lot of them!  Plus, it combines, engineering, creativity, planning, and advanced science skills like application, analysis, and models/representation...all while learning and reviewing parts of our solar system!

I also love how we were able to do it with a preschooler, kindergartener, 2nd grader, and 3rd grader!  It was a super fun afternoon at our house!!  And another bonus: it used up a TON of candy.  I'm debating whether I want to throw the rest away or keep using it during school!

The Candy Solar System challenge is also unique because it is child-led.  I love a solar system model with all the planets all lined up in order as much as anyone else, but that's not what it looks like in real life.  Plus, my kids resist projects where I tell them what they need to do at each step.  I've learned that if I give them the challenge and the information they need, they can create beautiful things.

To set up your own Candy Solar System Engineering Challenge, simply explain the concept of a solar system model, perhaps look at some pictures of different models, and then give your kids a pile of candy to work with!

Our kids immediately wanted additional supplies, and that was okay!  They first went to the recycle pile and cut a piece of cardboard for themselves.  They wanted to use paint, glue, sprinkles, aluminum foil, toys, and more!

Here they decided to make "stars" by mixing paint, glue, and sprinkles:

Here they're making an asteroid belt:

My preschooler loved the idea of gluing candy down!  Her pieces didn't represent the parts of a solar system the same way the older kids did, but she had a wonderful time!  Plus, it was wonderful fine motor exercise!

My oldest declared that she would need some extra time.  She began by painting the background.  This is as far as she got on the first day.  I'll add more pictures when she finishes!  Everyone else finished in one day!  Here is her painted background:

I absolutely love how this one turned out!  You can see red paint dots representing Mars (this child's favorite planet) near the top. Earth looks green and white just to the right of Mars.  A black hole made from cake is about five inches below them.  To the right of the black hole you can see two space ships!  Just above the black hole are some yellow dots for the sun.  A bit below the black hole is another space ship.  Below the blue space ship is an asteroid belt.  The rest of the planets (Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are represented by a lovely silver candy that this child thought looked particularly cool!  You can see the red and white stars sprinkled throughout the model.  We also had a couple different colored nebula!

Our 2nd Grade Blogging Team's theme this week is Solar Systems!  Check out these other fun space themed learning activities that are great for second graders:

Blast-Off Number Line Math Practice from School Time Snippets
Solar System Matching Game from Life Over C’s
Engineering Challenge: A Candy Solar System from Preschool Powol Packets

Also, be sure to check out my Space Sand activity!!

And go HERE to see over 100 science activities and experiments!!

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Kristina said...

Great way to use up all the halloween/ holiday candy! Last year we made an Edible Solar System by using the candy on a brownie!

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Ooh, that sounds fun Kristina!!