From previous discussion and reading, students should
have a basic understanding of the rotation (spin) and revolution
(orbit) of the Sun and Earth. This lesson reinforces what
students have learned in the "Adding the Moon: Using
a Playground Model to Explore the Movement of the Sun, Earth,
and Moon" lesson.
balls: 6-inch ball for the Sun, 3-inch ball for the Earth,
1 1/4-inch ball for the Moon
disk: 8-inch round x 2-inch thick for base to hold Sun ball
(Note: The relative sizes and distances of materials
used in this model are not the scale of the Sun-Earth-Moon
bamboo skewers (about 12 inches)
Lamp with 200 watt bulb and shade removed to serve as Sun
Extension cord for lamp
Allow 15 minutes to locate and prepare materials.
will learn that:
Moon rotates or spins on its axis.
Moon revolves or orbits around the Earth.
Moon and Earth revolve around the Sun.
motion of the Sun, Earth and Moon are cyclical.
a location in the classroom with ample room (approximately
10' x 10' ) to demonstrate the Sun-Earth-Moon model. Students
may want to sit in a circle or semi-circle, with the model
in the middle.
one end of a skewer into the 6 inch Sun ball and the other
end of the skewer into the Styrofoam disk to elevate and
secure the Sun ball.
the 6-inch Sun ball or the lamp where all students can see
what students know about the Sun and Earth. Write answers
on the board or KWL chart. Possible points to elicit about
the Sun and Earth.
our closest star.
at the center of the solar system (like the hub of
a bicycle wheel).
slowly compared to the Earth.
counterclockwise when seen from above.
Earth and other planets rotate on their axes and revolve
or orbit around the Sun, but the Sun is in the center
of the solar system and spins on its axis as well.
very hot and bigmuch bigger than Earth!
a light source and is always shining.
a 3-inch ball on a 12-inch bamboo skewer to represent the
Earth. Hold the skewer vertically so that the Earth can
be held from above and rotated. (See
photos) Remind students that the Earth spins counterclockwise,
and that it is smaller than the Sun. Note: Stress to
students that Sun/Earth/Moon model is not to correct size
or distance scale. Explain that distances in space are
vast and that this is a model to help us see the big picture.
the Earth orbiting around the Sun. Walk counterclockwise
in a circle around the Sun and simultaneously turn the skewer
counterclockwise to demonstrate the Earth's spin as it orbits
the Moon. Ask, "What revolves around the Earth? What
do you see in the sky almost every night and also during
what students know about the Moon and write answers on the
board or use KWL chart. Possible points to elicit about
our home planet.
much smaller than the Sun.
a day and a night (24 hours) to complete one spin.
or orbits around the Sun.
one year to complete its orbit around the Sun.
is smaller than the Earth (4 Moons can fit across
the Earth's diameter).
revolves or orbits around the Earth.
a 12-inch skewer in half and place a 1 1/4-inch styrofoam
ball on the 6-inch skewer. Insert the other end of the skewer
in the 3" Earth ball at the approximate "equator"
(i.e. perpendicular to the longer skewer). (See
the long skewer counterclockwise to demonstrate the spin
of the Earth and the Moon orbiting the Earth. Note: Remind
your students that the model is not to correct scale or
turning the Earth/Moon model, walk counterclockwise around
the Sun to demonstrate that the Earth is rotating, that
the Moon is revolving around the Earth, and that both are
revolving around the Sun.
to students that the motions they see demonstrated happen
as a cycle and that the rotating and revolving never stop!
Explain again that it takes a day and a night for the Earth
to make one entire rotation and that it takes a whole year
for the Earth to complete its long orbit around the Sun.
Ask student to model the movement
of the Earth and Moon around the Sun to the rest of the class.
related books and websites.