Level: Elementary 3-4
Great Connection: Earth, Moon, and Sun incorporates a series
of hand-on activities to teach students about the Earth, its
Moon, and the Sun. Books, posters and videos provide the factual
information needed. Creative writing and several extension activities
are included in the teacher's guidebook and round out the program.
Some of the topics covered include: Seasons, Eclipses, Rotation
and Revolution, the Water Cycle, and a comparison of the structures
of the Earth, Moon and Sun.
Vaughn Martin (Easton Elementary School)
Designed in 2001 for the Northern Maine Museum of Science Travelling
Trunks Library from grant monies received from Maine School
of Math and Science for NASA-related educational projects.
Great Connection trunk was designed using the following guidelines
established by the Maine State Learning Results.
Science and Technology Elementary 3-4
F. THE EARTH
|| 2. Demonstrate an understanding that many things about the
Earth occur in cycles that vary in length and frequency.
3. Describe differences among minerals, rocks, and soils.
4. Illustrate how water and other substances go through a cyclic
process of change in the environment.
G. THE UNIVERSE
- 1. Illustrate the relative positions of the sun, moon,
2. Trace the source of the Earth's heat and light energy
to the sun.
3. Describe Earth's rotation on its axis and its revolution
around the sun.
4. Explore the relationship between the Earth and its moon.
||2. Explain ways different forms of energy are produced.
J. INQUIRY AND PROBLEM SOLVING
||1. Make accurate observations using appropriate tools and
units of measure.
2. Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect
and analyze data, and do experiments.
K. SCIENTIFIC REASONING
||6. Practice and apply simple logic, intuitive thinking, and
||1. Record results of experiments or activities, and summarize
and communicate what they have learned.
3. Reflect on work in science and technology using such activities
as discussions, journals, and self-assessment.
4. Make and or use sketches, tables, graphs, physical representations,
and manipulatives to explain procedures and ideas.
7. Function effectively in groups within various assigned roles.
Notebook: MSLR support, lessons plans, assessment,
- "The Sun" by Seymour Simon
"Moonwalk" by Judy Donnelly
- "The Reasons for the Seasons" by Gail Gibbons
- "The Changing Earth" by Lynne Stone
Models and kits:
- "Our Mr. Sun"
- "Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space"
- Water Cycle
- Inflatable Moon
- Black and White demo Moon
- Moon Surface Rocks
|2-9" square pans
||3 clear plastic cups
|100' clothesline rope
||1 golf ball
|2 boxes corn starch
||1-8" paper tube
|1 gallon Rubbermaid tub with cover
||1 candle and holder
||1 mirror and holder
|6 volt battery
||3 white plastic cups with covers
|2 boxes plastic wrap
||red round discs-8 large and 8 small
|1 box aluminum foil
||1set SOHO sun pictures
|1 bag potting soil
|1 metal can
Lesson 1 - What do we already know?
|Learning Results include J4, J6, L3, L4,
|Time - 30 to 45 minutes
- poster paper
- ruler / yard sticks
- Put students into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a
large sheet of poster paper. Assign student roles as needed.
- Have the group divide their poster into 3 sections. Label
the sections as follows: EARTH , SUN , MOON
- Next, have the groups brainstorm everything they know
about the Earth, Sun, and Moon and write it under the titles
on the poster. At this point do not worry about whether
or not the information is correct. This activity just gives
you an idea about what they know and what misconceptions
- Coalate this information on the overhead or chalkboard.
Ask each group in turn to share something they have on their
list, and write it on the master list. If any of the other
groups have the same thing on their own list , they need
to put a checkmark beside it. This way groups will not repeat
something you already wrote on the master list. Continue
this until every group has shared what they listed on their
poster. Save this to revisit later so kids can see their
misconceptions and what they have learned.
| OPTIONAL / EXTENSION - give each group
a marker. Explain that the class will
be studying how the Earth, Moon, and Sun are connected, how
each one affects the other. Using the marker, have the teams
lines from something they wrote in one column to something they
wrote in another column that shows a connection. For instance,
they wrote under SUN that it gives us light, that could be
connected to a comment under EARTH that states it has plant
These connections can also be shared with the class.
Lesson 2 The Composition of the Earth
The Earth: Inside Out
LR: L1, L4
Time: 30 minutes , however options will add more time in class
Materials: Apple or hard boiled egg
worksheets 113 - 116 , 29
1. Show an apple to the class. Have the students describe
the layers they see when you cut it in half. ( skin, white
edible, seed ). Explain that the Earth has layers on the inside
too. ( A hard boiled egg can be used as well ).
2. Read the worksheets 113 to 116 as a class. Complete the
chart on Worksheet 29 using information from the text. This
can be done individually or in groups. This develops skills
in searching a text for data. You may choose to collect this
for assessment. Be sure to review each layer with the students.
Material: Cornstarch, water, cups
Have the students make Oobleck to demonstrate how the Mantle
layer can act as a solid and a liquid. Allow time for students
to explore all the properties of the Oobleck.
Time: 45-60 minutes
Have each student make a model or diagram showing each layer,
with correct labelling. This can be assessed to show that
each student can correctly identify the layers of the Earth.
( I usually get large styrofoam balls that I cut and let the
students color and label)
Lesson 3 The Composition of the Crust: The Rock Cycle
Time: 60 minutes, with longer time needed for options
|Igneous rock sample
||soil or sand
||classroom books- 2 or 3
||Sedimentary rock sample
||Metamorphic rock sample
Put a spoonful of baking soda into the top of the volcano model.
Pour a fourth cup of vinegar (or any amount you determine to
work best) on top of the baking soda and watch in fizz and bubble
down the sides of the volcano. I add a little red food color
and a spoonful of dish soap for a better flowing colored lava.
As an option you may have each student make their own volcano
models at home . Then take them outside on the school lawn
and have each student give a demonstration. My students supply
all their materials, but I do have a little baking soda and
vinegar on hand just in case. I challenge the students to
try and get the volcano to explode without using any explosive
materials. I do evaluate these.
When done with the demonstration of volcanoes, explain to
the students that when the lava hardens, it becomes rock.
We call this rock IGNEOUS. Write this on the chalkboard and
show them the rock sample.
Partially fill a pan with soil or sand. Raise one end of the
pan by placing a couple classroom books under it. Have students
predict what will happen when you pour water on the soil at
the raised end. Then do it. YOU MAY NEED A CATCHBASIN OR TOWEL
ON THE LOW END IN CASE WATER SPILLS OVER. Have students describe
what happens. They should see something that resembles a river
and see a lot of the soil carried to the bottom of the pan.
Have students relate what they have seen to what actually
happens in a river. Ask them what a river might pick up and
carry along. Discuss where the water goes and what happens
to all the material it picked up. The river ends up at the
ocean and it deposits the material where the river and ocean
meet. This forms layers of material on the ocean floor.
Make a model or diagram showing the layers on the ocean floor.
Option one: Materials needed are baby food jars and
colored art sand. Have groups of students working together
to fill the jars with alternating layers of colored sand.
Option two: Materials include a loaf of white and
dark bread. Have the student groups take the bread and make
a small stack with alternate layers of white and dark bread.
Then have them press the layers down firmly, but not pounding
as to ruin the bread!!
Option three: Materials include poster paper and colors. Have
students draw a picture of the ocean floor showing several
layers of material each colored differently.
Challenge students to summarize what happens to the bottom
layer of material. The pressure causes the bottom layer to
eventually harden into rock. We call this SEDIMENTARY. Write
this on the board and show them the rock sample
As an extension you could have interested students create
their own demonstrations on how the layers are formed. These
could be presented to the class for extra credit.
At this time you could explain that fossils are often seen
in sedimentary and igneous rock. Students could discuss how
the fossils are formed. To show this students can imbed objects
in clay to see how the fossil is made.
Explain to the students that both Igneous and Sedimentary
rocks can actually be changed into new kinds of rock deep
under the crust layer. This occurs by extreme heat and pressure.
The new rock is called METAMORPHIC. Write it on the board
and show the sample. Explain that this once was a sedimentary
Sandstone rock but now it is called Quartzite. The sandstone
grains have been melted very tightly together.
After doing these demonstrations in class with fourth graders,
I found I had to review it several times. I had students make
a poster. They divided it into 3 sections. On the first section
they labeled it Igneous and drew a picture of a volcano. On
the second section they wrote Sedimentary and drew a picture
of the layers in the ocean. On the third section they labeled
it Metamorphic and drew something to show heat and pressure.
If you are using Science Journals, you can have students
do some writing and drawings in them to further review the
material. This also is Learning Result L3 and can be done
throughout this series of lessons.
Lesson 4 - The Rock Cycle
|Learning Results: F2, J6, L4. L7
Time - 30 minutes with extra time for options
Materials - Book " Fun Facts About the Earth",
Rock Cycle overhead
This is probably a very difficult concept for most of your
students. It may take some time, discussion and review.
Ask students why farmers must pick rocks out of their fields
every year. Once the rocks have been removed, how can there
be more? Elicit that pieces of the crust rock layer are constantly
being broken and pushed to the surface.
Remind students that some of these rocks found in the farmers
field could be Igneous or Metamorphic. Write these on the
board. Ask students to figure out how these rocks could eventually
become Sedimentary rocks. They can brainstorm in groups if
needed. Have them discuss how sedimentary rocks are made.
This should help them out. They should discover that if these
rocks were carried away by water and eventually end up in
the ocean, they would become part of sedimentary rock. Write
sedimentary rock on the board with the other two names but
in such a way that the three words form a triangle. Draw an
arrow from Igneous to Sedimentary and from Metamorphic to
Sedimentary to show that these two rocks can become sedimentary.
Have students copy this on paper. above each arrow write "layers"
to review how sedimentary is formed. ( I had students use
the back of the posters they already made in lesson 3 of the
three types of rocks).
Now have the students discuss how Sedimentary and Metamorphic
rock could become Igneous. Have students review what they
know about how Igneous is made. Students should discover that
if the sedimentary and metamorphic rock are melted in the
mantle layer and are forced out a volcano, then they will
become Igneous rock. Draw an arrow from Sedimentary to Igneous
and from Metamorphic to Igneous . Above each arrow write the
word volcano. Have students copy this down on their posters.
Then review that Sedimentary and Igneous can become Metamorphic.
Have the students discuss how this happens. Draw arrows on
the board and label them heat and pressure. Have the students
do the same.
Explain to students that this diagram shows the rock cycle.
Even though there are three kinds of rocks, each can change
into the other kinds of rock if put under certain conditions.
Have the students label their diagram " Rock Cycle".
I did not spend more time on this. At this point it is enough
for kids to understand that there is a rock cycle and that
rocks can change into other rocks.
The book " Fun Facts About the Earth" discusses
the rock cycle on page 12 and can be used for reference.
Option: If you want to have student go further with this
you could have them create posters or models to show the rock
cycle that they could present to the class. This would give
lots of review as each student would have to explain the rock
cycle to the class. This could be evaluated.
Lesson 5 - Describe differences among minerals, rocks, and
|**This is optional to do at this time, but
I felt it tied in very well.
|Learning Results: F3, J1,L1,L7
Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Materials: Rocks, minerals, sand, soil, magnifiers
Give student groups samples of the rocks, minerals, sand,
and soil found in labeled containers in the kit. The groups
must use the magnifiers to study the samples in detail. Then
compose a chart listing the characteristics they come up with
for each sample.
Now write across the board the words Mineral Rock Sand Soil.
Have students share their lists of characteristics with the
class as you list them on the board. Have students only name
things that are not already on the board to save time. I have
each group give me a characteristic in turn and have other
groups check it off on their list if they have it. This way
they won't mention it again.
Have the students look up the definitions to rock, soil,
and mineral in the dictionary. Write them down. Then using
the list of characteristics on the board show how rocks share
characteristics with minerals because they are made from them.
Then show how sand is made from rocks and therefore share
characteristics. Lastly show how soil is made from rock and
other objects so it shares characteristics with them.
Students can write about this in their journals if you use
Mineral- a material made in nature and having a crystal
Rock- minerals combined together
Soil- broken down rocks, animal remains, plant remains,
as well as dust particles.
Lesson 6 : The Water Cycle
The Earth's Surface and Beyond
|MSLR: F2, F3, J3, J4, J6. L1, L4, L7
|Times and materials will be added to each section
below. You may use the booklet " Fun facts about the Earth
" pages 26-31 for additional information.
|A. Water Coverage
Materials: globe or map of the world
| Use a globe or map to observe the land and water
areas. Have students estimate about how much of the Earth's
surface is covered by water. It is about 3/4 of the Earth's
surface. Also make sure that the students realize that Earth
is the only planet with ocean water
|B. Solid - liquid - gas review
Time: depends on depth you need to cover. This activity
takes about15-20 minutes.
Materials: Ice cubes, cups ( for this activity )
Most students probably have been exposed to the states of
matter by now, but if your class has not you will want to
stop and spend some time on this.
If they have been taught this concept, simply review. Show
students some ice cubes. Ask them what the ice cube is made
of and what state of matter it is. ( A point here: kids may
be unfamiliar with the terms " state of matter "
and only know solid, liquid, and gas terminology ) Have students
explain how the cube was made. Discuss how they might change
it into a liquid. Give each student an ice cube and a cup.
Have a contest to see who can melt it the fastest. Then discuss
what everyone did to melt the cube. They should discover that
heat was a major factor.
|Time: 60 - 90 minutes, split into 2 days
Materials: water cups, 20 measuring cups- medicine type,
Optional- plastic wrap, hot plate, pan with cover, heat lamp,
Ask the students what would happen if they left water in
a cup overnight in the classroom. They should guess that some
of the liquid would be gone. Try this. Have the students measure
out exactly 30 ml of water in their medicine cup. Set it on
their desk or somewhere in the room. Leave until tomorrow.
( Leaving them on the desk can create spills. Putting them
elsewhere will require putting their names on masking tape
on the cup so kids can find their cup tomorrow. You need to
decide what is best for your class).
Day 2: have students check the water levels in the cups.
If nothing happened, you may need to keep them out longer.
If you have a hot plate you can drive this concept home
easier. Ask students what would happen if you heated a pan
of water. They will tell you about steam and boiling water.
Elicit that the steam is the gas state of water. Some students
will believe that the water at this point completely disappears.
Demonstrate by heating some water and watching the steam rise.
Tie this into what happened in their cups of water. It is
important that they realize that heat once again causes a
change in the state of matter.
To allow students to understand that the water gas is still
there even though you can not see it, do one of the following.
If you used a hot plate, while the steam is coming up, put
the cover on the pan for a couple minutes. Remove it and show
the students that the steam shows up as water on the cover.
Without a hotplate, simply cover a cup of water with plastic
wrap and put a heat lamp over it. In time water will show
up on the plastic. This should allow the students to realize
that the water is still there but we cant see it when its
If students still struggle with this, spray a small amount
of room deodorizer in one corner of the room. Elicit that
the spray is a gas. Have students raise their hands when they
can smell the spray. Just like water gas, the deodorant gas
is there even when we can't see it.
Write the words Water Vapor and Evaporation on the board.
Explain that water vapor is the science term for water in
the gas state and that evaporation is when liquid water turns
into gas. Review that heat causes evaporation.
Ask students where on the Earth's surface they think most
evaporation takes place. The oceans should be the response.
To get my class to see the whole picture, I handed out poster
paper. I wrote on the board SOLID ICE LIQUID WATER GAS WATER
VAPOR and placed arrows in between each
pointing to the next word on the right. Between ice and water
I wrote MELTING below the arrow to show how we went from solid
to liquid ( actually ask questions to get the students to
tell you what to place along the arrows). Then I wrote EVAPORATION
below the arrow between liquid and gas. Then we went back
and wrote HEAT above each arrow to show that this is what
had to be used to make the change happen. Students drew this
diagram on their poster paper.
This is a very hard concept for this age.
Materials: Ice, tin cans
In groups have students fill a tin can with ice. Add water
top. Leave this for awhile until moisture develops on the
Have students predict what they think will happen. Then discuss
fog.When have they seen it? How is it produced? Discuss dew
frost as well. Steer the students in the direction of temperatures
when each of these events occur. They may not initially know
these events occur but when talking about temperature they
hopefully be able to deduct that these events all occur when
temperatures and warm temperatures meet.
Now look at the tin cans. Moisture should be seen on the
outside of the can. Have students discuss how this happened.
If they do not know, lead them back to the discussion of temperature.
Make sure they realize that the moisture is from the air not
from inside the can. Tell them this is called condensation.
Write it on the board. Explain that clouds are also a form
of condensation and are made of tiny droplets of water.
Time: 20 minutes
Materials: wax paper, water droppers,toothpicks
Ask the students to name as many kinds of matter as they
can that fall from the clouds ( rain, snow, sleet, hail..).
Ask the class why these materials fall out of the clouds.
To show it, give students a piece of wax paper. Place a few
drops of water on the wax paper. Give students toothpicks
and have them push the drops
together. What happens? Explain that this is similar to what
occurs in a cloud. When the drops are too heavy, they fall.
Write precipitation on the board and explain that this is
the science term for those types of matter that fall from
Students probably have had a unit on weather before this
so this lesson is basic review. If they have not had weather
yet, you may wish to go more in depth with this concept.
|F. Put the whole water cycle together
Time: 30 minutes
Materials: overhead of water cycle, water cycle model,
Show the students the water cycle model and set it up. While
it is going, show the students the overhead of the water cycle.
Discuss evaporation, condensation, and precipitation once
again. Have the students draw a picture that shows all three
parts of the water cycle. Have them color these for a display.Make
title it water cycle and label the three stages. These can
be evaluated. Once the water cycle model is working, show
the students. Where is the evaporation occuring? ( on the
water by the heat of the lamp). Where is condensation? ( A
good fog should be condensing on the side of the model and
under the ice cloud). Where is precipitation occuring? ( hopefully
below the ice cloud. You may have to keep adding ice as it
melts to see this. Regardless, they should see different sized
water dropplets developing).
If you are using journals, the students can write about what
happened in the model.
I had my students develop a game, puzzle, or model to show
their understanding of the entire process. Each stage had
to be seen and labelled. Students who did puzzles had the
class assemble it, then the student had to explain the cycle.
Students who made a game had to explain the cycle. Then they
explained the game and we played it. Those with models had
to explain the cycle. I assessed these. This was a terrific
activity and I was
amazed at what the kids made.
Lastly, use the book " The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars"
p.14 to discuss what affect the Sun has on the water cycle.
Lesson 7 The Earth's Surface and Beyond : Atmosphere
|Time: 30-45 minutes
Materials: "Fun Facts About The Earth" book,
Scissors , Poster paper, 2 clear rectangular containers, 2 thermometers,
saran wrap, Optional -colored paper
||Read pages 5-7 from the book to explain what the atmosphere
is. Discuss what activities take place in the atmosphere. Have
students draw the layers of the atmosphere, adding pictures
some of the activities that occur in each layer. Photocopy page
6. Have students cut out the paragraph on each layer and glue
them to the poster .
Have students make a model of the atmosphere showing how
it traps heat energy from the sun. Take the two clear rectangular
containers, place a thermometer in each one, cover one of
them with saran wrap, and place them in the sun for a couple
hours. Look at the thermometers to see how the temperatures
(optional- put one in the dark and one in the sun to show
how the sun heats the Earth, or experiment with putting various
colored linings in the containers to see which color creates
the highest temperatures.)
Lesson 8- The Earth's Surface and Beyond
Animal and Plant Life
Time: 45-90 minutes
Materials: Writing Paper, (Optional): Poster paper and
|Illicit from students what kind of life is found
on the Earth.
Discuss whether or not life has been found on any other planet.
Ask students to list what is found on the Earth that allows
life to survive on our planet. (water, gases, food, temperature,
Have students choose an existing animal to write about. Students
can pretend they are that animal and write about their life
for one day, telling how it uses/gets what it needs to survive
from the Earth.
Or students can use research and write a paper to explain
how the animal survives.
Optional- Students can make a collage to go with their story.
Lesson 9 Comparing the Earth and Moon- Gravity and Atmosphere
Materials:-Worksheets 128,129,8, 2 balls, one about 4
times larger than the other, " Moonwalk" booklet
Optional-calculators, pan of sand, small balls to drop, balloons
Time: 60 minutes
Read WS 128,129 The Moon
Measure the size of the Earth and Moon.
The diameter of the Earth is about 4 times that of the Moon.
You can show students the two balls and measure the diameters,
have students draw two circles showing one to be four times
the diameter of the other, or use balloons and have students
blow them up in such a way as to show one four times the diameter
of the other.
Review with them what Gravity is.
Have students stand on a chair and drop two small objects
or balls (maybe into a pan of sand) to show how gravity pulls
on objects. The objects should land at the same time.
Discuss that the Moon has less gravity than the Earth. What
would happen if the Earth had less gravity?
Let students know that their weight is the measurement of
gravity pulling downward on their body mass. We measure our
weight by stepping on a scale. If we weighed ourselves on
the moon we would weigh less because of less gravity, 6 times
So have students use calculators to figure out their weight
on the moon.
Do WS 8-Cow on the Moon
For fun have students walk around the room as if they were
on the Moon with less gravity.
Discuss how the Moon has no atmosphere and what effects that
has on the Moon.
How does the Earth's atmosphere help us?
Read the booklet "Moonwalk" to them.
(Option #1)-Have students write a story about what happens
when the Earth's gravity suddenly changes.
(Option #2)-Have students write a story about what happens
when the Earth suddenly loses its atmosphere.
Maybe half the class can write about one topic and half the
class write about the other, and then share.
Lesson 10- Comparing the Earth and Moon- Surfaces
Materials: Moon globe or map, Worksheet 270,271,272,273,21,16
Pan of flour and rocks of various sizes, Newspaper, Golf ball,
flashlight, Surface of the Moon samples,
WS-experimenting with craters
Time: 2 or 3- 60 minute class time
|Observe the Moon globe or map. Look at WS 270.
Observe the golf ball with a flashlight pointed at it in
a darkened room.
Have students discuss the surface of the moon.
Read WS 21,271,272,273. Have groups make a chart comparing
the Moon and the Earth using the WS and prior knowledge.
Conduct an experiment to show how craters are formed.
You can use WS 272 or do the following: Fill a pan with flour
and level it smooth.
Have a student hold a rock at shoulder level and drop it into
DO NOT THROW ROCKS!!!
Try several times to see how this surface changed. Discuss.
(Optional- I used 4 boxes of pudding mix and a bag of donut
holes as well as the flour and rocks as a comparison, and
then we ate the" meteors")
Discuss that you saw different sized craters on the Moon's
Have student groups brainstorm how to vary the size of the
holes and test their hypotheses.
Share their ideas with the class and do demonstrations. (You
can use the WS Experimenting with craters)
Make sure students use varied size rocks and speeds, as these
are two important reasons for varied size of craters on the
Measure and record crater widths and depths during these demonstrations.
Also observe the sprays that resulted around the holes. Measure
and record these.
(Optional- have students use other materials besides rocks
that would resemble meteors and test them)
Draw conclusions from the data they collected. Write about
how various sized craters are formed on the moon, and why
we see so many craters on the Moon surface.
Discuss why the Earth's surface isn't covered with craters.
You may need to tell them that shooting stars are actually
meteors that have entered our atmosphere and get burned up
before reaching the surface. They need to know that there
are a few craters on the Earth's surface, though.
Discuss how this would be possible. Have students rapidly
rub their palms together to see how friction causes heat.
Friction is created between the meteor and the atmosphere
air that is hot enough to burn up a rock!!
Read WS16 Rock from the Moon. Observe the moon specimens
in the Surface of the Moon sample kit.
Lesson 11 Comparing the Earth and Moon-Light
Materials: Worksheet 16,17
flashlight, black styrofoam ball, globe
Time: 45 minutes
|Read WS 16-17
Shine the flashlight on the black styrafoam ball to see how
the moon reflects light. (As an option you could do a mini study
on light reflection and absorption).
Discuss that all planets and moons in our solar system get
light from the sun.
Have students brainstorm all the ways we use sunlight on
Use the flashlight and globe to show students how half the
Earth is always in light and half in darkness which we call
night and day.
By turning the globe students can see how each part of the
globe gets day and night. They must realize that the sun does
Students may already know all this from an earlier grade
but some may need the hands on demo to really GET the concept.
Lesson 12- Comparing the Earth and Moon- Rotation and Revolution
Materials: Worksheet 248,249,130,131
Time: 45 minutes
|Read WS 248-249.
Show students how the globe spins on an imaginary line called
the axis. When the Earth and Moon spin around like this it
is called rotation. Write this on the chalkboard
Have students stand up and rotate a few times.
Have a volunteer come to the front of the room and stand,
representing the sun.
Move the globe around the "sun" student.
Have another volunteer come up and walk around the globe,
representing the moon.
When the moon goes around the Earth and the Earth goes around
the sun, we call it revolution. Write this on the board.
Have students get up and revolve around their desks a few
Explain that the Moon and Earth are rotating and revolving
at the same time.
Have volunteers come to the front of the room and act out
the moon and Earth rotating and revolving while going around
the "sun" student.
Have all students rotate and revolve around their desks a
It is the Earth's gravity that pulls the moon around the Earth.
As the Earth pulls on the Moon, the Moon is trying to fly
off into space (centrifugal force). Both forces balance out
and the Moon is pulled in a pattern around the Earth.
Use the rope to demonstrate this. One student stands in the
middle holding the rope. A second child holds the end of the
rope and starts to walk in a circle. This child tries to walk
in a straight line away from the center as the center child
pulls inward. The end result is that the child on the outside
is pulled into an orbit around the center child.
Read WS 130
Optional--Do Another Moon Move and the activity on WS 131
Discuss the length of the rotation and revolution of the Earth
(24 hours and 365 days) and the Moon ( both about 29 days).
You can also discuss how we get leap year.
You should review the terms rotation, revolution, and axis
a few times.