Occasionally I will pause my lessons to remind students that the cosmos is not easy to comprehend.
The other day I had kids take out sheets of loose leaf and turn them sideways. I instructed them to draw a (small) Sun at one end, and, a thumb-width away, a (smaller) Earth. Then I asked them to estimate where the nearest star lay in relation.
I offered a candy bar as a prize for the most accurate estimation.
I collected the sheets and, laughing between mouthfuls of chocolate, told the students they’d need paper that extends from their desks to the Cambridgeside Galleria.
Yea, for as they shall know our galaxy’s enormity, so too shall they rue my cheap trickery!
Then I showed them this short video, about going to the desert to construct a properly scaled map of the Solar System. The guys who did this really are ingenious.