RESET Volunteer Charles Cisneros’ Earth, Moon and Sun Experiments

Hi, just returned from down under (Australia and NZ) and now preparing to do some science with you and your junior scientists.

I plan to focus on earth patterns, cycles and change (SOL 3,8a) for the remainder of this semester as we discussed.


– Day prior to each class- please have each student write what they think causes day and night (serves to form a hypothesis)

Day and Night Cycle Activity (45 minutes, starting at 9:30am)
Ask several students what they wrote on what causes night and day
Possible short video
Place a sticker on the globe ( I provide) to indicate where we live. (ask for volunteer)
Place the globe on a table, then turn the lights off.
Have a student shine the flashlight on the globe where the sticker is.
Ask students if it is day or night where the sticker is located.
Turn the globe counterclockwise until the sticker is away from you.
Shine the light on the other side. Students will notice the sticker is now on the dark side, which represents night time.
Have the students write down how we get night and day

The following week – Earth, Moon, and Sun orbits
Earth, Moon, and Sun Activity (60 minutes, starting at 9:30am)
Help students visualize how Earth and the moon travel together in space around the sun with this enactment. Review what orbit means: the path an object in space follows as it revolves around another object. Review what revolve means: to circle around an object.
possible video
Divide the class into groups of three.
Give each group three cards and have them write “Sun”, “Moon”, and “Earth”, on the cards. Students can also draw a picture of the word they wrote.
Take the class outside or to a large open area. (any suggestions?)
Have one group come to the middle and position the sun performer. Explain that, like the real sun, he will not move. Have the child acting as Earth, revolving very slowly around the sun. Have the moon performer revolve around the moving Earth. Explain that while it takes the Earth about 365 days to orbit the sun, it takes the moon only about 28 days to orbit Earth.
Have the remaining students form groups and enact the cycle.
After students come back to the classroom, pass out the activity “Earth, Moon Orbits,” students color, cut out, and assemble. (paper orbital models)

Note: both of these activities were found on the Utah Education Network website.

I am open to your comments/suggestions

Charles Cisneros
RESET Volunteer

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