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How the Earth, Moon and Sun interact


Students will demonstrate their understanding of how the sun, moon, and earth interact by doing a short performance.

Materials Needed

Socks and several different sized objects that can be placed in the sock

Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook

Have the students stand in a clear space and bring with them a pencil. Have them hold it out and drop it on the count of three and ask them what happened. The have them jump in place as high as they can. Ask what happened.

 As they return to their seats, ask them why the pencil fell and why after they jumped, they came back down. What causes this? Do they remember talking about gravity a few lessons ago? Also refresh their memories of talking about the earth moon and sun. Gravity is important to them as well.


Ask for three volunteers and use them as your examples as you explain the movements of the three objects. Place one student in the center as the sun; tell him/her to burn bright as s/he can. Take the second student and make them the earth. Have them circle the sun while spinning around. DO it slowly so they don’t get sick. Then add the third child as the moon. Show how it rotates around the sun while the earth rotates around the moon. Gravity is what makes the earth and moon revolve around the sun and the spinning of the earth is what creates gravity that keeps us on the ground.

Do more demonstrations of gravity using a ball in a sock or something else you can spin around (be sure to keep them from hitting each other with the objects. Use different sized objects in the sock to show how the force is greater the bigger the object. That is how the sun keeps the earth in orbit as well as the earth keeps the moon, which is smaller, in its gravity.


Divide the students into groups of three. Tell the students that they must find a way to recreate what they have learned today about the rotation of the sun moon and earth. They may use objects or just their own bodies as long as they are safe. Give them a warm up to shake out the wiggles, give them five minutes and walk around the room to see if they need help.  All students should be doing their performances at once for you, so walk around and watch them.

Author's Notes

Standards covered: Standard 1 
Students will understand that the shape of Earth and the moon are spherical and that Earth rotates on its axis to produce the appearance of the sun and moon moving through the sky.

Objective 2 
Describe the movement of Earth and the moon and the apparent movement of other bodies through the sky.

 Describe the motions of Earth (i.e., the rotation [spinning] of Earth on its axis, the revolution [orbit] of Earth around the sun).

Use a model of Earth to demonstrate that Earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours to produce the night and day cycle.

Standard 4 
Students will understand that objects near Earth are pulled toward Earth by gravity.

Time: 25 minutes

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