|Katie (age 6) with friends Mandy (6) and Ali (4) show how the Earth, Moon and Sun work together. (May 1998)|
This a good hands-on way to show how the sun, moon and earth work together. Make three signs:
- one that says Earth and has a picture of the earth drawn on it.
- one that says Moon and has a aluminum pie pan glued to it.
- one that says Sun and has a picture of the sun drawn on it.
These can all be made into necklaces for the students to wear by attaching yarn to the right and left sides of the top of the signs. This lets the students have their hands free. First you can talk about how the sun gives off light, which reflects off the moon, giving it illumination. The student who is playing the Sun is given a flashlight to represents the sun's light. This student can shine the flashlight on the Moon's surface and the students can notice how the light reflects off it's surface. Have them note, too, that the part of the moon facing away from the sun is in darkness.
Next have the students demonstrate the movements of the sun, moon and earth. Earth orbits around the Sun taking an entire year to complete one revolution. We have our daily night and day because the Earth rotates. The moon revolves around the earth, attracted by gravity. You can have your students demonstrate this by having your Sun stand still while your Earth walks around the Sun in a wide circle. Next have your Moon walk around your Earth while your Earth walks his/her wide circle around the Sun. Lastly, have your Earth spin slowly around while he/she is walking in the wide circle. This exercise usually ends up in lots of laughter as everyone tries to accomplish this task, but it also makes the movements of the sun, moon and earth unforgettable!