When students see pictures of the planets in books, they probably see all of them bunched together with the Sun as a large sliver at one edge. Illustrations like this yield an assumption that we are this happy, close knit family of planets we call the Solar System.
Nothing could be further than the truth. In this activity students will appreciate the vast distances between the planets walking outside for more than 600 feet. The teacher is asked to print out the included 11 cards and mount each one of them on a small piece of plywood attached to a stake that can be driven in the ground. Students will be told that we have squeezed the Solar System down to a size we can handle. [The teacher can have all of the kids spread their arms wide and slowly, jerking squeeze everything together until you have your hands cupped.]
If you cannot go outside, there is a different scale that is provided that can be shown on the board at the front of the room.