From previous discussion and reading, students should
have a basic understanding of the Earth and Suns rotation
(spin) and revolution (orbit). This lesson is best taught
after completing the two Motion of the Sun and Earth
lessons in this unit.
(blue, red, white and yellow)
Earths diameter is about 7,926 miles and the diameter
of the Moon is about 2,160 miles. The scale of the Moon
to the Earth is approximately 4 to 1.
distance between the Earth and the Moon is approximately
Earth and Moon spin counterclockwise with North being up.
Earth and Moon are in synchronous rotation. The Moon rotates
slowly in comparison to the Earth. The Moon rotates in the
same amount of time that it takes to revolve around the
Earth27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes and 11.47 seconds!
We always see the same side of the Moon facing us.
time between two consecutive full moons is 29.5 days. This
longer period of time is due to the fact that the Earth
is also moving along its orbit as it revolves around the
the following Internet resource for more compete information
on the Moon:
Allow time to locate
chalk and copy work sheets.
the Moon" Work Sheets
View Completed Student Work Sheets
will learn that:
Moon rotates or spins on its axis.
Moon revolves or orbits around the Earth.
Moon and the Earth revolve around the Sun.
motion of the Sun, Earth, and Moon are cyclical.
to the playground area where students drew the Sun and Earth
from previous lesson to reuse your drawing.
students into small groups.
that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Ask students, "What
revolves around the Earth? What do you see in the sky almost
every night and also during the day?"
you cannot use the previous playground drawing of the Earth,
ask one group to draw the Earth (a 10-inch circle filled
with blue chalk), and another group to draw the sun (2-foot
circle filled with orange or red chalk). Ask students to
draw the orbit of the Earth around the Sun.
another group to draw the Moon (3-inch circle filled with
white chalk). The Moon should be about 3 feet away from
the Earth so that students can move about easily. Note:
Orbit sizes not to scale for this activity. Remind students
that distances in space are vast and that this is a model
to help understand motion.
another group to draw a line indicating the Moons
orbit around the Earth.
one student to act as the Earth and one to act as the Moon.
student how long it takes for the Earth to spin around24
that the Moon rotates much slowerit takes a little
more than 27 days for the Moon to rotate all the way around.
Ask students, "Which spins faster, the Earth or the
that the Moon rotates and orbits around the Earth at the
same time. Ask the Moon how he or she should
move. The Moon character will spin and revolve in a counterclockwise
direction as seen from above (North is up). Reminder: This
is not a race and the rate of speed is constant and steady.
the Earth how he or she should move. The Earth,
like the Moon, is spinning counterclockwise as seen from
above (North is up).
your Earth and Moon characters moving in rotation/revolution.
select a student to act as the Sun and have students move
againso that students can see the Sun, Earth, and
Moon all moving together.
the conclusion ask students, Which role was the hardest
to play? Take a vote.
time allows, ask for a second set of students to play the
Sun, Earth and Moon
and model the motion again.
Distribute the "Adding the
Moon" work sheet to assess what students have learned
from this activity.
related books and websites.