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Far Out!™ Solar System Mapping Tool
(based on 5 reviews)
of respondents would recommend this to a friend.
Reviewed by 5 customers
Displaying reviews 1-5
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Wonderful Whole-Class Outdoor Activity
By Kristen C.
About Me Educator
Comments about Educational Insights Far Out!™ Solar System Mapping Tool:
This was an excellent resource for a whole class activity! I used it with 3rd grade students, but I could see it being appropriate for grades 1-8, depending on how much discussion you give to the topic. I have previously done this activity by having the students measure and stand in certain spots across the school's field, but this took out a lot of the hassle, and helped the students to quickly understand where the planets are in relation to one other, and the visual representation with the downloadable planet posters was terrific!
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
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The Solar System fits in your schoolyard
from Los Angeles, CA
About Me Educator, Thrifty
This tool is great for teaching planetary science! The tape measure includes kilometers, miles, AND astronomical units. The product itself is well-built and durable (even when you have crazy students running around, pulling hard on the tape measure itself, etc.), and the color and shape of the Sun is attractive and serves as a nice center of the Solar System. Students often have difficulty understanding the scale of the Solar System and the distances between each planet just from looking at words or pictures alone. This was a great way to kinesthetically engage the whole class and deepen their understanding of the Solar System by giving them a personal physical experience. This was also a great opportunity to take the kids out of the classroom into the parking lot (or a schoolyard or nearby park, if you have one) when they all seemed sleepy in my classroom. I asked for student volunteers to "represent" each of the planets after throwing out a few scientific facts about them, as well as telling a short story regarding the Greek/Roman deities they were named after, and students were practically *fighting* over getting to represent certain planets... "NO, I want to be the goddess of love!" "NO, I DO!" (and keep in mind, these are not little kids, these were my 9~11th graders). The process of rolling the entire tape measure back in was a bit of a chore, but aside from that, amazing product! It even includes where the asteroid belt would be found in the Solar System! (Even though it didn't include Pluto, the questions that students asked about its absence presented a good teaching moment.)
Simple, but highly effective model
from Pittsburgh, PA
About Me Education Oriented, Educator
Space is big. Like, really, really, big! Most adults have trouble comprehending the truly enormous distances between the planets, let alone kids! Anything that can help visualize these numbers is a huge help. Using the downloadable planet posters, we've been playing a game with local kids. I have them take turns each laying out their guess for the size and scale of the solar system. Then we unroll the tape and have a good laugh as we keep going well past what any of them have set up. By the time we get out to Uranus and Neptune, they're just speechless about how far apart they are.The case is light weight, but well constructed of sturdy plastic. The tape is heavy duty vinyl that has held up well despite repeated use, and doesn't tend to get tangled or twisted up too badly.One thing to consider is that at 61 feet long, this really needs to be used outdoors or perhaps in a gymnasium. In a typical house, it's a lot harder to get a real sense of scale since it's not likely you could get the whole thing stretched out end to end.Otherwise, this a nifty little tool that has earned a permanent place in the star party toolkit!
Excellent Hands-on Tool
from Carmel, CA
This is a great, practical, and easy to store tool that get students used to the idea of planet distance. In the past, we have always paced out the distances back and forth across the black top, but in a class of 30, it can get unwieldy. This mapping tool is a fun gadget that the kids want to "play with." They can manage it on their own without teacher direction. They are really proud of themselves when they come up with new places to try it out. We get a great lesson in estimation out of it too. I teach fifth grade and find that it is especially helpful as a center during small group work.
Very Fun and Useful
from Erie, PA
I received this solar system mapping tool as a gift and found it to be a real time saver. I teach both STEM and Math, with this tape I was able to put the students right on the mark where each planet is in relation to the sun. I didn't need to set up my own model this time, and the distances on the tape allowed me to make some very good math connections. The case and tape are both very sturdy and well designed. My students didn't have any problem using it, and it was nice to have it reel in and out easily.It did require room to use it effectively, but that is to be expected when modeling the distances of the planets. If you can get outside or have a long hallway to use this tool, it is fantastic!