Lesson Links

Earth, Moon and Sun
Science Clips provides a useful lesson plan to help students understand how the Earth orbits the Sun once a year and that the Moon takes approximately 28 days to orbit the Earth. It also provides online web and offline activities including teacher worksheets, activities, and quizzes to be incorporated into this lesson.

The Earth's Orbit
A series of activities provided for teachers to use with students to help them better understand the causes and the effects of the changing of the seasons. This set of activities starts simply by trying to quantify the observation that "it's colder in the winter" and ends by measuring the tilt of the Earth itself. These activities are fun for students and help them to really understand the tilting of the Earth on its axis.

Flight Paths of Orbiting Satellites
Students often question the paths of shuttles launched into space; this lesson plan allows teachers to help students visualize the relationship of motion, time and space as it relates to objects orbiting the Earth. Students can track and plot the path of an orbiting object on a globe or world map. It provides a useful lab for hands-on learning and should help students understand that the combined movements of the Earth and the orbiter result in what appears to be wavy flight paths.

Fly Away Moon
Through the use of this experiment worksheet students are able to understand what keeps the Moon from flying away from the Earth. It provides a hands-on experiment for students to learn how gravity works and what the world would be like without it.

Phases of the Moon
This 45-minute lesson plan will teach students the phases of the moon and its orbit. It uses a few more materials than the above lesson including a model of the earth and moon and a direct light source such as a flashlight. The lesson draws ideas from a moon watch that students will do at home with activity sheets.

Phases of the Moon
Space, the Final Frontier offers a worksheet for a month long experiment that helps to bring out the astronomer in every child. This website provides a recording sheet to be used with a lab that will enable students to observe the moon as it goes through a full cycle and determine how long it takes for the moon to complete its cycle.

Reasons for the Seasons
This three-in-one activity helps students to conduct a controlled investigatoin to determine the length of the sun's shadow on a fixed object (i.e., flagpole, telephone pole) over a three-day period (one day in the fall, one in the winter and one in the spring). From this experiment students are better able to understand the position of the sun and Earth and how it relates to the changing of the seasons.

This lesson, provided by National Geographic, requires about two to three hours of class time. It allows students to see the difference between the seasons and why they occur respective to their geographic location. The lesson helps students learn the relationship of the Earth and sun and the cause of the seasons. A journal activity is included in this lesson.

Time – Light and Shadow
This lesson plan by Denise Young can be used to teach students about the connection between the Earth and sun by studying shadows. Students create a sun clock and record shadows throughout the school day by using the earth and sun as a measurement for time. This lesson takes approximately four days to complete and requires materials that are easy to find.