Our next science experiment that involves the Planets was all about the Saturn's rings. We wanted to show why we see the ring as a whole ring and not just icy particles floating around. For that we need:
a record player
black construction paper
small particles such as - ice cream salt (which is perfect because it looks like ice crystals), sand, glitter, rice
Take the black paper and place it on top of the record player, making a hole through the middle part. Take the chalk, place it sideways, and carefully trace the circle shape of the record player. Older kids can do this themselves.
Have the kids cut the circle out.
Give each kid a bowl with the small particles.
Have them glue it on the outer side of the circle. When they put the glue down, smudge it a bit with the finger to create bigger surface that the particles could stick to.
Let it dry.
When it dries, place it on the record player and talk about the particles being visible as individual particles when they are not rotating around the planet.
But what if you turn the record player on and make them rotate, just like the actual particles rotate around the Planet Saturn? Place your camera on the tripod and set your exposure on longer time. This is one of our result pictures.
We tried several different variations of materials, thickness of the rings, and speed of the record player. See another picture, where the ring is thicker.
Have fun experimenting!