Saturday, August 25, 2018

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Planet Mercury Preschool Science Experiment | Solar System Space Theme

We have been working through a Space / Solar System theme with all our kids this summer, but a lot of the science experiments have been targeting our older (elementary/middle school) aged kiddos. This activity, though, is perfect for preschoolers! And, it turns out, that older kids still love it!

Mercury is the smallest planet, found nearest the sun. Venus, Earth, and even two moons (Jupiter's Ganymede and Saturn's Titan) are bigger than Mercury!

Since it is so small, its gravity is not strong enough to keep a significant atmosphere in place around the planet. This leaves the planet open to any space debris or wind that might crash onto it. Our preschool science experiment for Mercury highlights how impact craters have affected the surface of Mercury. 

We actually did two Mercury themed experiments in the same lesson--this one was especially for our preschoolers and the other experiment was more for our older kids.

Space Activities for Kids

Solar System Science Experiment:


The supplies are super easy: a dish (I used a glass pie pan), flour, and chocolate chips. You could substitute chocolate chips for raisins or something, but the kids really loved using chocolate! To prepare, just pour some flour into the pan!

Sidenote: if you hop over to Teaching Without Chairs to look at the other Mercury experiment we did, you'll notice that I encourage you to add a very tiny layer of water to the pan before you add flour. This is to represent the planet's crust. You can do that for this activity if you want to, but it is not necessary as the "meteorites" will not destroy a "planet" made without water.  ;)  


1- Introduce the activity by asking your kids what they know about Mercury. If nobody mentions it, tell them that there is no air to protect the planet from meteorites. When one crashes down (throw a chocolate chip into the flour), it makes a big crater where it landed! Mercury is covered with craters, some big and some small!

2- Let your kids experiment with making craters with chocolate chips! Throwing them in at different angles, from different heights, and at different speeds all affects the crater that will form.

We had some "meteorites" get retrieved so they could be eaten afterward!

If your kids have amazing straw control, or if you have mixed aged groups and want another Mercury-themed solar system science experiment with more fun details about the planet, be sure to hop over to my "sister" site, Teaching Without Chairs!

3- Finally, let your preschoolers touch, play in, and experiment with the flour also! This is a wonderful sensory activity! My 5-year old decided she wanted to "experiment with making play dough," so she picked some ingredients to add to the mixture to make a nice play dough...and she did pretty good! It wasn't the learning I planned when we began the activity, but it is still important and contributes to her growing just as much as any other pre-planned activity!

Do you love space themed activities? Be sure to check out my big collection of solar system and space themed activities for preschoolers! It also includes some free printable games--I think you will love it!


Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

I may share at any of these parties!

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