An unusual and interesting project is carried out in the center of Romania's capital city Bucharest
thought they could even set a Guinness World Record with what they intended to
do, but more than that they decided to experiment and play with other children
as well. We are talking here about a project put together by the StartEvo
Association, which, through the Kidibot education platform jointly with the
Bucharest Astro-club's partners and the Science and Technology magazine managed
to build a 1: 1, 392, 700,000 replica of our solar system in downtown
met Constantin Ferşeta,
vice-president of the StartEvo Association at kilometer zero in the Bucharest
city center while he was trying to inflate a yellow balloon, one meter in
diameter, which was going to represent our Sun. Here is what he told us.
Constantin Ferşeta: "We are trying to do here something children
usually don't do in schools. An experiment. We are trying to put up some posts
with balloons, which are representing the planets in our solar system. We have
calculated their scale, so we start here with the Sun and are going to end in
the Herastrau park, where we are putting up Pluto, the last planet in our solar
system. Now, every planet is also representing a fruit so that children may
understand better the huge distances in our solar system. We've also made an XL
chart with all the information about the planets' dimensions their diameters
and orbits. Then we calculated the real proportions of our objects and children
are now going to plant these posts which will also comprise information about
these planets. And if anyone wants they may cover all the distance between them
so that they may get a clear picture of our solar system."
Ferșeta told us more about the aforementioned project
Constantin Ferşeta: "On this project we are working with
children from the third to the eighth grade of various schools in Bucharest.
Hopefully this miniature solar system will remain in place for a while and not
get vandalized. But we also want this project to be shared by students from
other cities, because it is an extraordinary project and it is very useful to
see Mercury for instance, which is as small as peas and I have to walk a lot to
place it at some distance from the Sun, or Pluto, which is so far away! In this
project Pluto is a mustard seed, 4.5 kilometers from the Sun, so to say. So,
children will have to walk for two hours around the city to see Pluto, the last
planet in our solar system."
having completed 12 orbits around the Sun, at the age of 12, Ştefan, one of the students involved with
the project, told us that he was interested in exact sciences, such as physics,
chemistry and mathematics, the foundation of all.
Ştefan: "I've come here
not only to learn something new but also to teach other children how to do it.
I believe large-scale experiments aren't very much used in the process of
teaching and I believe they should be used more. That's why I encourage people
to do suchlike experiments because it is easier to learn things this way. At
the beginning we mount the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and the last one, Pluto.
11 years-old Natalie would recommend experiments like these to anyone:
Natalie: "I am here for this experiment first and secondly, we'd like to
celebrate the birthday of my colleague, Ştefan. I like this experiment
because it is something different from what we do at school. They don't
actually do experiments like these in schools nowadays, so it's an entirely
is 13 years old and told us what motivated him to join the project
Matei: "I thought it was something interesting and I wanted to come and see
for myself all the more so as there is a lot of action and exercise involved!"
understand the idea of the project was made public last year and its first
implementation was in Turda, western Romania, following a Zoom meeting.
Neuman, an honorary member of the Bucharest Astroclub, the oldest organisation
of this kind in our capital city, founded in 1908, shared with us the passion
he has for astronomy and his motivation to participate in the project.
Marian Neuman: "For the benefit of children first, as we wanted to make children
understand the real dimensions of space, the distances between the Sun and the
planets. Because only through an experiment like this they will fully
understand how things are in outer space. The Astroclub is more of an
association for the adults who share this hobby, astronomy, but we have lately
focused on this age bracket, on children. So we have created a smaller club for
them that we called Astroclub junior and which has members from four to
thirteen years old."
Popa, who is teaching geology and paleontology at the Bucharest University, has
told the children about the connection between geology and planets.
Mihai Popa: "As you know our solar system is a heap of star dust. And in billions
of years this heap of star dust materialized in the planets we see today. Rocky
planets are closer to the sun as you know, whereas the gas giants, which are
lighter, have been pushed farther from it. Today we are going to speak about
geology and astronomy because these two sciences are tightly connected. And you
are going to learn why. Welcome everyone!"
because I've learnt that our solar system is at half of its life, I thing I am
going to follow the example of the organizers and make plans to move in the
future to a different galaxy, far, far away. "