is a two-day activity. The first days introduction is
35 minutes and the modeling of day and night takes 30 minutes
on the second day.
Students should have a basic vocabulary (Sun, Earth, rotation
or spin, and revolution or orbit) with which to discuss the
topic of day and night.
What Makes Day and Night by Franklyn Branley
paper to cover windows
with 200 watt bulb and shade removed
map (see below for world map which can be printed and wrapped
around student's waist)
Earth spins counterclockwise as seen from above with North
being up. The Earth completes one full rotation every 24
Sun spins counterclockwise as seen from space above the
Sun, with the Sun's North Pole being up.
all parts of the Sun rotate at the same speed. At its equator,
it takes 27 days for the Sun to complete one rotation.
Near its poles, the rotation period is as much as 31 days.
Please note that the Sun and Earth in the work sheet are
not drawn to the actual scale of the Sun-Earth system.
time to gather book, lamp, globe and other materials. Cover
windows with drapes or dark paper. Print out wrap-around map
and student work sheets.
Chart" Work Sheets
"Day and Night" Work Sheets
Completed Student Work Sheets
that the Earth rotates, or spins, on its axis in a cyclical
how day and night occur as a result of the Earths
and identify sunrise, day, noon, sunset, and night as the
One: Reading and Questioning
by investigating what your students already know about day/night
rotation with a KWL chart.
may want to model for your students how to ask questions.
A list of question-words (who, what, when, where, why, how)
may be a helpful language prompt in the classroom to encourage
everything that students know about day and night in the
first column, and what they want to know about day and night
in the second column.
Branleys What Makes Day and Night. Write important
vocabulary (sunrise, day, noon, sunset and night) on the
board as students encounter them in the reading.
reading and discussing the book, review questions on the
KWL chart and ask if anyone can answer some of the questions
students they will soon be playing or taking on the role
of the Earth to learn more about day and night.
the new vocabulary to your "Science Word Wall."
Two: Kinesthetic Model
the vocabulary (sunrise, day, noon, sunset, night, spin
room and turn on lamp. Explain that the lamp represents
a student to be the Earth. Place the wrap-around map around
the student so that your town is on his/her chest. Make
sure he or she can be seen by all students.
your town with a sticker and ask students to focus on it
as the Earth rotates.
student begin with his/her back to the lamp (night). Ask
students if they think it is day or night in their town.
Have student rotate slowly in a counterclockwise fashion,
until his/her left arm is pointed to the Sun. Ask students
if they think it is sunrise or still night.
continues the counterclockwise rotation until he/she faces
the Sun directly. Ask students what time it is now in their
town. Students can see that it is noon, the middle of the
day, when we get the most light from the Sun. You may need
to prompt with additional questions.
student to rotate a little more. Have him/her stop when
his/her right arm is pointed toward the Sun. Ask students
what time of day it is. They should be able to tell you
that it is sunset.
the day/night cycle by having the student return to his/her
original position, with his/her back to the Sun. Students
should be able to tell you that is is midnight.
students to notice what time of day it is on the other side
other Earth (students back is facing the Sun and it
is noon). Explain that one half of the Earth is always light
while the other is dark. Emphasize that it is the Earth's
own shadow that makes the night side of the Earth dark.
this demonstration. Select other students volunteers so
that students will get a chance to view the day and night
cycle several times. Explain that it takes 24 hours for
the Earth to rotate completely.
to the KWL chart, review students' questions and place any
new answers in the final column, What we Learned. If there
are still unanswered questions, decide with the class how
you will research them further.
Day and Night work sheets for students to complete.
you have completed the demonstration with a student volunteer,
ask all students to stand in a circle around the "Sun"
lamp. Ask students to move apart slightly to allow them
to rotate easily.
that each of them will represent the rotating Earth.
the rotation with students facing away from the Sun (night).
Explain that it is the Earth's own shadow that makes the
night side of the Earth dark.
them to slowly rotate counterclockwise and keep looking
they turn, each student will be able to experience night,
sunset, day, noon, sunset, and, completing the cycle, return
they turn, ask students what part of the day/night cycle
they are experiencing.
way to illustrate and reinforce the day/night concept is
with a globe. Locate your city, state or country on the
globe and place a sticker with your school name on it to
mark the spot. Then using the lamp as the Sun, slowly rotate
the globe and show students how the Earth rotates, resulting
in day and night.
the globe you can identify which countries are in daylight
while your city is in darkness and vise versa.
Day and Night work sheet will provide a graphic assessment
of student understanding.
See related books and