Models of the Earth and the Moon

Anne Chamberlain Bethune Elementary School
3030 W. Arthington St.
Chicago IL 60612


Third grade students will demonstrate the causes of:
A) Day and Night
B) Seasons of the Year
C) Phases of the Moon

Materials Needed:

blue balloons lamp with transparent lightbulb
balloon holder on stick markers
globe styrofoam balls


A) Students form a circle around a lamp with their backs to the light. They
make four quarter turns to the left, stopping each time to observe the
position of the lightbulb in their field of view (low, high, or absent).
Repeat the turns several times with arms extended to the light, saying
NIGHT, SUNRISE, DAY, SUNSET. Finally, use a globe, rotate it and note times
of day at a fixed location.

B) Children use a marker to draw an "equator" and the letters USA on their blue
balloons. They hold them with their sticks slanted on a slight (23 degrees)
angle--all pointing to the same corner of the classroom. While standing in
a circle around a lamp, they hold a meterstick (or dowel rod) between the
lightbulb and the USA to observe the angle of radiation. Since direct rays
cause more intense heat and light we can decide which "balloon-Earths"
represent USA's summer, autumn, winter, and spring.

C) Children stand in front of a lamp holding a pencil with a styrofoam ball on
it at eye level. As they circle their "moonball" they observe and name the
lighted parts of it corresponding to the various phases of the moon.

Performance Assessment:

The student will be successful when he can explain to another person--in an
oral, written, illustrated or demonstrative manner--what causes day and night,
the seasons of the year and the phases of the moon.

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