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Who knows where the sun goes at night? The sun, like most other planets, rotates on its axis. Unlike the Earth, the entire sun does not rotate at the same time because the sun is not solid. Instead, it is a giant ball of gases and plasma. Different parts of the sun spin at different rates. But where does it go at night? The sun actually doesn’t go anywhere!! As the Earth rotates around the sun every 24 hours, the sun shines on different parts of the Earth at different times.
As the world turns…
Gather around a globe and mark the state you live in with a piece of tape.
With the lights out, shine the flashlight on the globe, pointing at your state. (The flashlight will represent the sun and the darkness in the room will represent the darkness of the sky surrounding the Earth).
The sun is shining on your state. Is it daytime or nighttime?
As the world turns..
Slowly turn the globe without moving the light source. (Point out to students how the sunlight falls on different areas of the Earth at different times).
Slowly turn the globe so that the flashlight is pointing to the side of the globe that is opposite of your state. It is now nighttime in your state.
Is there sunlight shining on your state? Can you see the sun at night?
Is the sun always the same place in the sky?
Does the sun seem to be moving?
Think about the globe and flashlight demonstration.
Did the flashlight move?
Did the light always shine on the same part of the globe?
The light’s position changed while the flashlight stayed in the same spot!
If you watch the moon every night, you see its shape appear to change. Does the moon really change shape? Of course not, but its appearance from Earth certainly changes. How does this work? The answer lies within the part of the moon that receives sunlight, and the part of the moon that does not receive sunlight. The moon revolves and rotates around the Earth.
Read the book Moon Game by Frank Asch.
On your own time, go outside to view the different appearances of the moon!!