Earth's Moon - Now You See Me, Now You Don't!

Journal Entry - Take out your science journal and answer the following question (use drawings as appropriate):

Why do celestial bodies appear to move across the sky?

Remember, that rotation is Earth spinning on its axis.  Revolution is one object going around another object.  Keep this in mind as you complete the following activity.

You need a few friends to help you with this activity.


  • Word cards for Earth, moon, sun, planet, and two stars 
  • Large open area
  • Don’t forget the friends!


  1. Assign each person a word card.  This is the part that person will play in the activity.
  2. Have the Earth person demonstrate counter-clockwise rotation.
  3. Have the moon person demonstrate counter-clockwise revolution around the earth.  The moon person should always face the earth.  The revolution of the moon around Earth is why we have moon phases.
  4. Have the sun person stand stationary in the center of the large open area.
  5. Now the earth person and the moon person need to demonstrate rotation and revolution around the sun.  The moon person should revolve around the Earth person while the earth person is rotating on their axis and revolving around the sun persons.
  6. The two star people and the planet person should go stand stationary out in the distance.
  7. Have Earth slowly turn from day to night.  Pay special attention to the planet and the stars as you rotate and revolve.
  8. Repeat the activity and trade word cards.


  1. What do the planet and stars appear to do when Earth is rotating?
  2. What do the planet and stars appear to do when Earth is revolving?
  3. In your science journal, write a paragraph comparing a revolution and a rotation.  Explain the movement of the earth and the moon in space.  Explain the apparent change in position of the planets and stars.
utah state board of education This Sci-ber Text was developed by the Utah State Board of Education and Utah educators.