You will need
- Eight different fruits for each solar system (ideally peppercorns, blueberries, grapes, dried cranberries, grapefruits, oranges, small satsumas, and plums)
- An exercise ball (or similar sized ball)
- Vases or bowls of water (optional)
- Knives (optional)
Build a group solar system
- The person leading the activity should put one of each fruit on a table or on the floor. Everyone else should sit so that they can see.
- Everyone should try and name the planets in our solar system, in whatever order they like. It’s okay if people can’t remember them all.
- The person leading the game should start with Mercury, as it’s closest to the sun. They should show the group what represents Mercury in the fruit salad solar system (the peppercorn), and put it down in front of the other fruits, to one side.
- The person leading the game should do this with each planet in turn, working outwards from Mercury through Venus (blueberry), Earth (grape), Mars (dried cranberry), Jupiter (grapefruit), Saturn (orange), Uranus (small satsuma), and Neptune (plum).
- The person leading the game should get the exercise ball, and place it next to the peppercorn Mercury. Now, everyone can see how big it is compared to the planets.
- The solar system that the person leading the activity has built shows how big the planets are compared to each other – it doesn’t show how far apart they are.
Build your own solar system
- Split into groups, and give each group one of each fruit.
- Each group should find a space, and set up their own Solar System. They should try to remember the order of the fruit planets, but they can check if they need to.
Take it further...
Test the planets’ density
- The person leading the activity should fill two vases or bowls with water.
- Everyone should gather together into one group.
- The person leading the activity should get a grapefruit Jupiter and an orange Saturn.
- One person should stand behind each vase or bowl, holding either the grapefruit Jupiter or the orange Saturn. The person leading the activity should tell everyone that both of these fruit planets are made of hydrogen, but one will float, and the other will sink.
- Everyone should point to the planet that they think will float.
- Everyone should count to three, and then the people behind the vases or bowls should gently place the fruit planets on top of the water.
- The grapefruit Jupiter should sink to the bottom of the vase or bowl, and then orange Saturn should float on the water. This is because Jupiter’s gases are more densely packed (are squashed in closer together) than Saturn’s.
Use the fruit
- Everyone should bring the fruit back together.
- Everyone should wash the fruit, and prepare it by peeling or chopping it.
- Everyone should take the fruit they’d like to eat, to make their own fruit salad. How about trying a fruit they haven’t had before?
This activity helped you to develop skills. Which skills did you use in this activity? Did you learn any techniques to help you learn and remember things? What worked best for you? Did you practice any practical skills like chopping?
This activity also helped you to learn how to live healthily. Why is it important to eat a range of fruits and vegetables? Did you know all of the names of the fruits in your solar system? Had you tried any of them before? Which one is your favourite? Would you like to eat them again?
- Sharp objects
Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.
Check for allergies before you begin. Make sure you have suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods.
Make it accessible
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.