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The Great Connection image
Grade Level: Elementary 3-4


The 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.
Designer: Vaughn Martin (Easton Elementary School)
History: 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.

Educational Content

The Great Connection trunk was designed using the following guidelines established by the Maine State Learning Results.

Science and Technology Elementary 3-4



  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.


1. Illustrate the relative positions of the sun, moon, and planets.
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.


  1. Make accurate observations using appropriate tools and units of measure.
2. Conduct scientific investigations: make observations, collect and analyze data, and do experiments.


  6. Practice and apply simple logic, intuitive thinking, and brainstorming.


  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, etc.

  • "The Sun" by Seymour Simon
  • "Moonwalk" by Judy Donnelly
  • "The Reasons for the Seasons" by Gail Gibbons
  • "The Changing Earth" by Lynne Stone


  • "Our Mr. Sun"
  • "Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space"
Models and kits:
  • Water Cycle
  • Radiation
  • 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
30-12" balloons 1 mirror and holder
Flashlight 6 thermometers
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 5 stones
1 metal can 5 marbles

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1 - What do we already know?

Learning Results include J4, J6, L3, L4, L7
Time - 30 to 45 minutes
  • poster paper
  • markers
  • ruler / yard sticks
  1. Put students into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a large sheet of poster paper. Assign student roles as needed.
  2. Have the group divide their poster into 3 sections. Label the sections as follows: EARTH , SUN , MOON
  3. 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 they have.
  4. 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 draw
lines from something they wrote in one column to something they
wrote in another column that shows a connection. For instance, if
they wrote under SUN that it gives us light, that could be
connected to a comment under EARTH that states it has plant life.
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 or
as homework
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.
Option #1
LR: L4,J3,J4,J6
Time:45-60 minutes
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.
Option #2
LR: L4
Time: 45-60 minutes
Materials:various materials

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

MSLR: F2,J1,J6,L4,L7
Time: 60 minutes, with longer time needed for options
Volcano model Baking soda Vinegar
Igneous rock sample spoon cup
pan soil or sand classroom books- 2 or 3
water Sedimentary rock sample Metamorphic rock sample
Igneous Rock
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.

Sedimentary Rock
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.

Metamorphic rock
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 soil

**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 them.

Mineral- a material made in nature and having a crystal structure.
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.

C. Evaporation
Time: 60 - 90 minutes, split into 2 days
Materials: water cups, 20 measuring cups- medicine type, poster paper
Optional- plastic wrap, hot plate, pan with cover, heat lamp, room deodorizer

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 a gas.

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.

D. Condensation
This is a very hard concept for this age.
Time:30 minutes
Materials: Ice, tin cans

In groups have students fill a tin can with ice. Add water to the
top. Leave this for awhile until moisture develops on the outside.
Have students predict what they think will happen. Then discuss
fog.When have they seen it? How is it produced? Discuss dew and
frost as well. Steer the students in the direction of temperatures
when each of these events occur. They may not initially know how
these events occur but when talking about temperature they will
hopefully be able to deduct that these events all occur when cool
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.

E. Precipitation
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 the clouds.

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, poster paper

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 sure they
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
A. 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 of
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 compare.

(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 magazines
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, shelter...)

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

LR: G4,J1,L4,L3

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 less.

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

LR: G4,J1,J2,K3,K6,L1,L4
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 the flour.
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 surface.

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 Moon.
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

LR: G2,L4,F2,K6

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 Earth.

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 not move.

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

LR: G3,L4,F2

Materials: Worksheet 248,249,130,131
Rope, Globe

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 times.

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 few times.

Revisit gravity.
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.

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