Title: The Earth in the Solar System

Дата канвертавання19.04.2016
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heme: Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Title: The Earth in the Solar System
Overview: The Earth, our home planet, is one of the planets in the solar system. It is the only planet known to harbor life. All things needed for survival are provided under a thin layer of atmosphere. The complex, interactive systems of air, water, land, and life combine to create an ever changing world.
The Earth has one natural satellite, the moon. The moon has a rocky surface and makes no light of its own. It gets its light by reflecting sunlight. The moon has phases because as the moon travels around the Earth, different parts of its bright side are seen from Earth. The gravitational pull of the moon affects the Earth in various ways.
Grade Level: Grades 2-3
Subject Matter: Science, Language Arts
Duration: 4-5 class periods of 30-40 minutes each
National Standards Addressed:

Physical Science

Standard B

  • Properties of Objects

  • Position and Motion of Objects

Earth and Space Science

Standard D


  • Students will name Earth as the planet we live on and water as the resource needed for life.

  • Students will model rotation and revolution of the Earth and Moon.

  • Students will identify phases of the Moon.

  • Students will design an extraterrestrial and write a description of it.


  • Computers with internet access

  • Small signs for students to hold: SUN, MOON, EARTH

  • Flashlight

  • Globe

  • Book The Moon by Gail Gibbons

  • Poster board

  • Lamp with 60 watt bulb

  • Orange or Styrofoam ball


Day 1:

Introduction of Earth and Moon

  • Ask children what they know about planet Earth.

  • Show them a picture of what the Earth looks like from space.


  • Discuss what the different colors are on the Earth.

  • Show class the picture of the Earth as taken from the Moon.


  • Ask them where they think that picture was taken from.

  • Discuss the living things on the Earth. Tell children that the Earth is the only place in the solar system known to have living things. Ask if they know ‘why’ that is.

  • Listen to POP #1833 Astrobiology: Water for the answer. Ask ‘What is essential for all living things?’ (water) Discuss where on Earth a lot of living things are found (rainforests). Ask where not a lot of living things are found (deserts, polar ice caps).

  • Discuss what they know about the Moon. Discuss whether life could be found on the moon.

  • Teach rotation and revolution.

    • Have one child hold a piece of paper that says SUN. That child stands in the center of classroom or open area. Explain that the sun is the center of the solar system. Another child holds a sign that says EARTH. Explain that the Earth revolves around the sun. Have the EARTH walk around the sun trying to maintain an equal distance from the sun. Then add another child to be the MOON. Explain that the moon revolves around the Earth. Have the MOON walk around the Earth to show revolution. Then have all three students try to revolve at the same time. (Earth around the Sun, Moon around the Earth.) Enlist 3 other students to hold the signs and recreate the solar scenario.

    • Next demonstrate rotation for the students. Spin a toy top or just have a student demonstrate by rotating in circles. Explain that the Earth and moon spin like tops as they revolve around the sun.

    • Have one child demonstrate the Earth revolving and rotating around the sun. Then demonstrate moon around the Earth. If possible, they can try it all together. (SUN, EARTH, MOON, all rotating and revolving.)

  • Use the following website for a song to review. “The Earth Goes Around the Sun”


  • As an assessment of this lesson, have each child draw a picture of the sun with the Earth revolving around it. Also, the moon revolving around the Earth.

Day 2:

  • To review previous lesson, call on a few students to demonstrate the movements of the Earth and moon.

  • Ask if they know what causes day and night.

  • Dim the lights in the room and have one child hold a flashlight in the center. (sun) Hold a globe facing the light and show how it is day on half of the Earth and dark on the other side. Rotate the globe to show day turning to night. Explain that it takes 24 hours for the Earth to make one rotation.

  • Remind the students that the moon moves also. Discuss what they have noticed about how the moon looks at different times. Read the book The Moon by Gail Gibbons to the class.

  • On a poster, write down things the children tell that they learned about the moon.

  • Show picture of the moon.


  • To teach the moon phases show this website to class and explain the phases.


  • Do ‘Moon Glow’ activity from this website to demonstrate the moon phases. Need lamp and large or orange or Styrofoam ball.


  • As a review, complete the activity ‘Phrases for Phases: Singing the Lunar Cycle’ (A song about the moon’s phases).

Day 3:

  • Have each child use the internet site to find out what phase the moon was in on the day they were born.


  • On a 3-5 inch diameter paper or poster board circle, students will shade in how the moon looked on the day of their birth.

  • For a bulletin board, write the names of the 8 moon phases across the bottom and have the children add their birthday moon to the board. (It will look like a pictograph.)

  • Ask questions of the birthday moon graph. In which phase were most students born? How many more students were born in full moon than new moon? (Make up more based on the data.)

  • Students can conclude by visiting Bob the Alien website and learn more about the Earth and moon.


  • They also can figure out how much they would weigh on the moon at this website.

Day 4:

  • Discuss the things we have learned about the Earth and moon. Ask the class how the moon affects the Earth. Then have the class listen to POP #2314 The Moon: Earthquakes for ways the moon affects the Earth (tides, earthquakes, slows the earth’s rotation). Discuss.

  • Discuss what is needed for life on Earth and anywhere else in the solar system.

  • Students can use the website F9 Kids to create an alien and do other games and activities.


  • Culminating activity: Students will create an extraterrestrial and write a description of it. See handouts.

An extraterrestrial (ET) is something that lives in space beyond our Earth. Do you believe there is life on other planets or in other solar systems?
Draw a picture of what you think an ET might look like. (Use an unlined sheet of white paper.) Name it. Write a description of your ET or alien. Use the following questions as a guide in writing your description. (Use lined paper.)

  1. What is this alien’s name?

  2. Where does it live?

  3. How old is this alien?

  4. What does it do for fun?

  5. What does it eat?

  6. What does it need to exist?

(For example, human beings need food, water, shelter, and clothing.)

Additional Resources
Web Images
Name: Earth East

URL: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=2429

Caption: This spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date.

Credit: NASA

Name: Earth West

URL: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=2429

Caption: This spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date.

Credit: NASA

Name: Artsy Solar System

URL: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/jpl/news/planetsf-20060815.html

Caption: Artistic rendition of our solar system.

Credit: NASA

Name: The Moon Close Up

URL: http://nineplanets.org/pics/Luna2.jpg

Caption: A close up image of the moon.

Credit: USGS

Name: Moonflag

URL: http://www.solarviews.com/raw/moon/moon.gif

Caption: Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during Apollo 11 extravehicular activity on the lunar surface.

Credit: NASA

Name: Earth Moon Orbit

URL: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/display.cfm?IM_ID=6763

Caption: The elliptical orbits of the moon around the Earth and the Earth around the Sun have a substantial effect on the Earth's tides.

Credit: NASA

Name: Earthrise

URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise.jpg

Caption: Earth as viewed from the Moon during the Apollo 8 mission, Christmas Eve, 1968.

Credit: NASA

Name: Terrestrial Planet Size Comparison

URL: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/gallery/terr_sizes.jpg

Caption: This diagram shows the approximate relative sizes of the terrestrial planets, from left to right: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Distances are not to scale. A terrestrial planet is a planet that is primarily composed of silicate rocks. The term is derived from the Latin word for Earth, "Terra", so an alternate definition would be that these are planets which are, in some notable fashion, "Earth-like". Terrestrial planets are substantially different from gas giants, which might not have solid surfaces and are composed mostly of some combination of hydrogen, helium, and water existing in various physical states.

Credit: NASA

Web Image Galleries
NSSDC Photo Gallery (solar system) – NASA
Earth’s Moon Gallery – NASA

Web Links
Exploring the Planets – Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Welcome to the Planets – NASA

NASA Earth Observatory

Amazing Space - Space Telescope Science Institute

Our Solar System: A Galactic Neighborhood (see subtopics in left column) – NASA

The Solar System – Star Child / NASA

About Our Solar System – Lunar and Planetary Institute

Nine Planets

Earth: Planet Profile – NASA

Earth – Planetpals.com

Earth’s Moon: Our Favorite Satellite – NASA
Earth Fast Facts Page – Planetpals.com

Earth Characteristics – USGS

The Moon – NASA

Exploring the Moon – Lunar and Planetary Institute

The Moon – Nineplanets.org

Phases of the Moon – Astronomy Kids

NASA Eclipse Web Site

What Causes the Tides? – Enchantedlearning.com


Astronomy Songs for Kids – Kidsknowit.com

Phrases for Phases: Singing the Lunar Cycle (song lyrics) – Lunar and Planetary Institute



Total Solar Eclipse 2008 (58:44) – NASA Exploratorium

The Universe (various) – The History Channel


Interactive / Animation / Graphics
Solar System Exploration: Alien Safari - NASA

Tides and Gravity Labs (interactive tide tutorial, includes animation) – University of Utah

What Causes the Tides? (animated tutorial) – PBS / NOVA Online


Just For Kids
Solar System Kids – NASA Science for Kids

NASA Kid’s Club (games, slide shows, images) – NASA

The Solar System – Star Child / NASA

NASA Space Place (FAQ’s, animations, games, info)

ESA Kids (games) – European Space Agency

F9 Kids (interactive astronomy for kids)

Solar System Trading Card Game - Space Telescope Science Institute

With Peter and Paul Around the Galaxy



Teacher’s Center (lesson plans, game ideas, etc…) – Star Child / NASA

NASA Educator Resources (K-4)

Our Solar Neighborhood (educator guide) – NASA

Experiment in Perception: The Ponzo Illusion and the Moon


Special thanks to the following scientists for their help with this project:
Pulse of the Plant Programs: #1833 “Astrobiology: Water”

Chris McKay

Research Scientist

NASA Ames Research Center

Pulse of the Planet Programs: #2314 “The Moon: Earthquakes”

Geoff Chester

Public Affairs Officer

U.S. Naval Observatory

*Information current at the time of interview
Header Image

Name: An Artsy Solar System

Credit: NASA

Copyright 2008 Jim Metzner Productions – All Rights Reserved

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