The Earth, moon and sun teaching unit


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This unit has been designed to support Year 3 teachers. It integrates some of the Primary Connections Ideas and acknowledges these, yet also add additional resources. We have tried to incorporate higher order thinking skills within the unit.

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The Earth, moon and sun teaching unit

  1. 1. The Earth, Moon and Sun Lesson plans for Year 3 By Joanne Villis and Madeleine Hunter We acknowledge that some of the teaching ideas in these lessons are the original work of Primary Connections. We have acknowledged Primary Connections’ ideas on the appropriate slides. Primary Connection resources can be purchased from . They can also be accessed by Australian teachers for free via Scootle.
  2. 2. Australian Curriculum Earth and Space Science Earth’s rotation on its axis causes regular changes, including night and day (ACSSU048) Science Inquiry Skills With guidance, identify questions in familiar contexts that can be investigated scientifically and predict what might happen based on prior knowledge (ACSIS053) Suggest ways to plan and conduct investigations to find answers to questions (ACSIS054) Safely use appropriate materials, tools or equipment to make and record observations, using formal measurements and digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS055) Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS215) Reflect on the investigation, including whether a test was fair or not (ACSIS058)
  3. 3. Lesson 1 What do we think we know? Ask student to think about what they know about the Earth, the moon and the sun. Invite students to answer the questions below in their Science books. What do I know about the Earth? What do I know about the Sun? What do I know about the Moon? What do I want to know about the Earth, Sun or Moon?
  4. 4. Lesson 1 continued… Download the Blue Beauty.ppt. Show the Power Point in slide show view from the beginning. There is audio associated with the presentation. The original creator of the Power Point is unknown as I have had it for 7 years. After viewing the Power Point invite students to add additional information to what they know about the Earth, moon and sun in their Science books. Then ask students to draw a diagram of how big they think the Earth, moon and sun are in comparison with each other. Encourage students to label their diagrams. Ask leading questions such as: What shape are they? What size are they? Students then write a comment next to each about how they think they move. Ask leading questions such as: Does the Earth move? Does the moon move? Does the sun move?
  5. 5. Lesson 2 & 3 Relative sizes of the Earth, Moon and Sun (Primary Connections Idea) Show students an exercise ball which has a diameter of 1m. This will represent the sun. Show students a pea which has a diameter of 9mm (approximately) which will represent the Earth and a dot on the whiteboard (2 ½ mm) which will represent the moon. For teacher reference, the sun is approximately 109 times bigger than the Earth. Ask students to consider which object could be used to represent the Earth, the moon and the sun. Students record their thoughts in their science journal and write an explanation for their reasoning.
  6. 6. Lesson 2 & 3 continued… Pose the following point to students: The Sun, Earth and Moon are all spheres, but, did you know that for a long time, the Earth was thought to be flat? Ask students to consider why they think people thought this? Invite students to record their thoughts in their Science books.
  7. 7. Lesson 2 & 3 continued… Why do the moon and sun look like the same size from Earth? (Primary Connections idea) Conduct the Primary Connections experiment on page 15 about the relative sizes of the Earth, moon and sun. This experiment involves an exercise ball (sun), tennis ball (earth) and a marble (moon). One student is the sun, they stand with their back against a wall. One student is the Earth, they hold a tennis ball and then walk backwards with one eye closed until the ‘Earth’ appears the same size. One student is the moon, they hold a marble and walk backwards from the Earth until the moon appears the same size.
  8. 8. Lesson 2 & 3 continued… The fourth student is the measurer. They record the distance between the Sun and the Earth and the Earth and the moon. Students take it in turn to swap roles. We found that many students struggled viewing relative sizes so we used an iPad to take photos. This helped students visualize the relative sizes of each object.
  9. 9. Lesson 2 & 3 continued… Then ask students to compare the distance between the sun and earth then earth and moon (ie earth is a long way away from sun and moon is closer to earth).
  10. 10. Lesson 4 Shadow tag game (Primary Connections Idea) Before you begin, discuss the following in small groups or learning teams: 1) What is a shadow? 2) What is needed to make a shadow? 3) How do shadows change? 4) Play a game of 'shadow tag'. You will need a partner. One partner is 'it' and tries to tag their partner's shadow. Then the other partner becomes 'it' after being tagged. 5) Does your shadow move in the same direction as you? 6) How can you make your shadow smaller? 7) What is the biggest shadow you can make? 8) Reflect in your Science books.
  11. 11. Lesson 4 continued…
  12. 12. Lesson 4 continued… Invite students to explore how their shadow changes using chalk and the pavement. Ask students to trace around their feet and then a partner traces around their shadow. Allow time to lapse, ask students to stand in their original position and then trace their shadow again. What do they notice? This activity is a great lead into students making their own sundial. Source: science.html
  13. 13. Lesson 4 continued… Shadow Sticks: Use plasticine and a tooth pick to create a line shadow. Then use an iPad or digital camera to capture photos of the shadows at various times. Ask students to record the changes in the shadow. Two good apps to support this task is I Motion hd/id421365625?mt=8 or Stop Motion studio/id441651297?mt=8 .
  14. 14. Lesson 4 continued…
  15. 15. Lesson 5 Make your own sundials. A PDF can be downloaded from: http://d366w3m5tf0813.cloudf content/uploads/sundial_s.pdf . Before asking students to make a sundial you need to check your location’s latitude line. Information can be found online. Adelaide’s latitude is 34 °.
  16. 16. Lesson 5 Additional shadow lesson ideas: 1. Taggalaxy (approximately 30 minutes) Conduct a 'shadow' search on tag galaxy and discuss the images. What do you notice about the shadows? Where do you think the sun is located in relation to the shadow? This is a great activity to incorporate visual literacy.
  17. 17. Lesson 4 continued… Read the Australian Legendary Tale called ‘How the sun was made’. For a long time there was no sun, only a moon and stars. That was before there were men on the earth, only birds and beasts, all of which were many sizes larger than they are now. One day Dinewan the Emu and Brolga the Native Companion were on a large plain near the Murrumbidgee. There they were, quarrelling and fighting…. Continue reading the tale at U-A_iFuKCcx
  18. 18. Lesson 5 continued… Additional shadow lesson ideas: 2. Make shadow puppets during art and create shadow plays during drama. 3. Make a character using alfoil, create and record their shadow. Original idea source: sculpture.html
  19. 19. Lesson 6 Day and Night experiment (modified version of Primary Connections Idea) Put students in small groups. Each group will need a torch and a globe. In a darkened room, one member of the group will be the sun (holding the torch), one member the earth and the other members observe. Ask students to point the torch at the equator (this needs to be modelled). Ask students to think about which countries would be in day light and which countries would be in the dark. An extension of this activity is to use coloured dots to represent certain countries and as a group discuss which countries would be in daylight and which countries would not be.
  20. 20. Lesson 6 continued… Ask students to focus on the following questions: 1. What do you think causes day and night? 2. Draw and label a diagram to explain your thoughts? Extension: Use a video camera or iPad to record each group’s demonstration.
  21. 21. Lesson 6 continued…
  22. 22. Lesson 7 & 8 Earth, moon and sun experiment (Primary Connections Idea) Place students in small groups. One person will be the sun, one person will be the Earth, one person will be the moon and the other person will be the observer. Using their bodies, invite students to can organise their group to show how the Earth rotates (spins) and orbits around the sun at the same? What is the difference between rotating (spinning) and orbiting? How can students show how the moon rotates (spins) and orbits the Earth at the same time? Which one rotates faster, the moon or the Earth? Use a video camera to record students.
  23. 23. Lesson 7 & 8 continued… Make a model of the Earth, moon & sun rotation system (source: Moons-orbit-565681, free download or use the one which Madeleine made) Students make a flat paper model of the earth, moon and sun where parts can be moved. Using a blank template, students colour the sun in yellow, Earth blue & green and the moon in grey (do not colour rectangles). Then punch a hole in the middle of all 3 circles and at either end of the rectangles. One rectangle is shorter than the other to show that one is closer to the earth than the other – which one goes where? To attach them together use split pins so they can be manipulated later in the unit. Then in small groups, invite students to see if they can use their model to describe the relationship between the Earth, moon and sun.
  24. 24. Lesson 7 & 8 continued…
  25. 25. Lesson 7 & 8 continuted… Watch the video ‘What makes day and night’ zU and then invite students to reevaluate their original thoughts. Can they now draw a diagram showing the relationship between the Earth, moon and sun?
  26. 26. Lesson 7 & 8 continuted… Use a alfoil plate and a marble to demonstrate a revolution. Original idea: http://jouneytojosie. 2/01/spaced-out- wrap-up.html
  27. 27. Lesson 7 & 8 continued…
  28. 28. Lesson 9 & 10 Individually, students will answer the following questions in their books: • What shape are the earth, moon and sun? • Which is biggest, Sun, Earth or Moon? • Is the Earth closest to the Sun or the Moon? • What causes shadows? • What time of the day are shadows the longest? During the morning and the afternoon or in the middle of the day? • What causes day and night? • How long does the earth take to complete one rotation? • How long does the Moon take to do complete revolution around the Earth? • How long does the Earth take to complete one revolution around the Sun? • Does the Sun rotate?
  29. 29. Lesson 9 & 10 In pairs, using an iPad, students record themselves answering the questions. We recommend a free app called Garage Band 8 . One student asks a question and their partner responds. Students take it in turns to ask and respond to the questions. We then uploaded the podcasts to our class Weebly (blog) for students to listen to and share with their parents.
  30. 30. Lesson 11 Research basic facts about the Earth’s moon. We found that students were interested in the following: - The size of the moon - The moon’s surface (craters) - What would it be like living on the moon? - Facts about the moon We used a range of online resources, YouTube videos, books from the library and apps.
  31. 31. Lesson 11 continued… We liked these videos: The Moon (Bill Nye The Science Guy) Science Channel (Moon) moon.htm NASA YouTube (evolution of the moon) Repeat similar tasks for meteorites. What is the difference between asteroids and meteorites? There needs to be a wealth of discussion about the surface of the moon, meteorites and creators in order for students complete the next task. We brainstormed key words/facts during this lesson on the whiteboard.
  32. 32. Lesson 11 & 12 continued… Science Investigation Aim: With guidance students identify possible questions to investigate. Then they plan, conduct and evaluate their investigation. We showed students how we can make a pretend moon surface using flour and cocoa. Then we showed students a range of materials including tape, alfoil, oven baking paper, gladwrap, patty pans, pop sticks, flour, cocoa, rubber bands, straws, freeze tape, scales, rulers, magnifying glasses and stop watches. We allowed students to handle unfamiliar objects such as scales, weights, magnifying glasses and stop watches.
  33. 33. Lesson 11 & 12 continued… Students were asked to come up with a question to investigate. We gave them a clue, something to do with the surface of the moon? They were given examples of how to start a question. Examples included; (1) How might… (2) What could you do to ….. (3) What would happen if…(4) How does…. Students wrote their questions on a sticky note and we attached them to the board. They were then asked to write their aim, a list of materials, their method, a diagram, a table (if needed) and a prediction.
  34. 34. Lesson 11 & 12 continued…
  35. 35. Lesson 11 & 12 continued…
  36. 36. Lesson 11 & 12 continued…
  37. 37. Lesson 13 After viewing students’ work Madeleine and I thought that several students needed extra guidance in terms of their investigative question and how they were going to determine if their test was fair or not. To assist students, present two different experiment scenarios to student (one which is obviously a fair test and one which is not). Encourage students to focus on the number of variables. Ultimately we are aiming to test one variable in each investigation. Allow students time to revaluate and edit their original investigation.
  38. 38. Lesson 14 Allow students to conduct their investigations. It is essential that all materials are set up prior to this lesson and students have their books to record their results in. We had access to a few iPad and some students chose to record their results using the camera function or an app called Explain Everything. Explain Everything costs AU$2.99. everything/id431493086?mt=8
  39. 39. Lesson 14
  40. 40. Lesson 14
  41. 41. Lesson 14
  42. 42. Lesson 14 ASSESSMENT We created a rubric for teachers to use to assess students’ investigations.
  43. 43. Lesson 15 & 16 We created a set of questions for students in order to support their evaluation of their investigation. We used Bloom’s Taxonomy to guide our questions.
  44. 44. Credits This is unit is the combined work of Joanne Villis and student teacher, Madeleine Hunter. We have acknowledged that some of the teaching ideas in this unit are the original work of Primary Connections. We have acknowledged Primary Connections’ ideas on the appropriate slides. If schools would like to contact Madeleine Hunter for various opportunities they can do so via . COPYRIGHT: We give permission for the following: Adaptations and sharing of this resources for educational purpose only. We do not give permission for commercial use of this work. When sharing or adapting this work I ask that you give credit to the original creator, Joanne Villis at and Madeleine Hunter. Thank you to for sharing this resource. ENJOY!