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These activities will help students understand where the sun is in the solar system and how big the earth, moon, and sun are.
For each group
A star is a ball of hot, burning gases. The sun is the closest star to Earth (about 150,000,000 km/93,000,000 miles) away. Therefore, it looks bigger and brighter to those on Earth than other stars.
Earth spins on an imaginary line called an axis. A complete rotation takes about 24 hours (one day). The part of Earth facing the sun has daylight; the part facing away from the sun has night.
Earth revolves around the sun as it rotates on its axis.
One complete orbit, or revolution, of Earth around the sun takes
about 365 days (one year). It actually takes 365 1/4 (365.25) days to revolve
around the sun. One-fourth of a day is equal to six hours. If you take a
24 hour day and divide it by six, you get four. Therefore, and extra day
is added to the calendar every four years. Every fourth year is a leap year,
which has 366 days.
The moons diameter is about one-fourth that of Earths.
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Invitation to Learn
Pass out white boards and markers to each student. Have the students draw what they think exists in space. Walk around the room and assess each drawing. Make a list on the chalkboard of all the different responses. Students erase boards and draw what they think is in the center of our solar system. Again, walk around the room and make assessments. Discuss. Students erase boards and draw what else is out there besides Earth, the moon, and stars. Discuss.
Where is the sun located in the solar system?
How big is Earth, moon, and sun?
moon, about 2,000 miles (3,250 km)
Earth, about 8,000 miles (13,000 km)
Ask again, “For a 4" paper Earth, how big should we make our paper moon?” If they don’t see the relationship, point out that 2,000 miles is one-fourth as big as 8,000 miles. Therefore, the paper moon should be 1" (2.5 cm) in diameter.
sun, about 800,000 miles (1,300,000 km)
Have them change their estimates based on this information.
800,000 divided by 2,000
is the same as
800 divided by 2 = 400
So....if your paper moon is 1", the paper sun will be 400" (1,000 cm).
400" divided by 36" gives you about 11 yards
You don’t have paper big enough to make that circle! Instead, use 5 1/2 yards of string to draw an 11 yard circle with chalk on the playground. Tie one end of the string to a piece of chalk. Have another student hold the other end. The student with the chalk will pull the string tight and draw a circle on the cement. Then, trace the paper Earth and the paper moon with chalk for comparison.
How many people have walked on the moon? (Twelve astronauts have walked on the moon, the last in 1972.)
Here are the names of those astronauts listed chronologically by the date of their walk.
|July 20, 1969
Edwin Buzz Aldrin
|Nov. 19, 1969
Charles (Pete) Conrad
|Feb. 5, 1971
|July 30, 1971
|Apr. 21-23, 1971
|Dec. 11-13, 1972