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Can I describe the sun, Earth and moon as approximately spherical bodies?


Ask what shape is planet Earth? How do you know? What shape does it look like to you? Expect children to say sphere but discuss the fact that there is no evidence of that when they look around them. Can they think of any ways to prove the earth is spherical? How did they first prove it before satellite images?


Watch video clip which illustrates Aristotle’s theory of the world being spherical (not flat).  Repeat this experiment using a piece of paper taped to the table so that it arches like the Earth and moving a small object over it.



Can I describe the movement of the Earth and other planets relative to the sun in the solar system?


Can you name the planets? What is the order of the planets?


Explain the mnemonic My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Nothing to help them remember the names of the planets and the order they are from the Sun.  Explain that Pluto has now been declassified and is no longer regarded as a planet as it too small and made of ice. 




Note down key points, including how long it takes Earth to orbit the sun.


Write an explanation of the movement of the planets relative to the sun. If time draw images of the planets to support this.




Can I use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night and the apparent movement of the sun across the sky?


Ask what causes day and night.  Then ask the question ‘How does the Sun appear to move throughout the day?’  What evidence can they come up with to support their ideas. Explain that as well as orbiting the sun, the earth rotates (turns) on its axis and takes 24 hours to do this. Model, using the globe (or a ball), how the earth rotates and point out that it rotates anticlockwise. Model at the front of the room (using a chair as the sun), how the earth rotates on its axis whilst orbiting the sun.




Now model using a lego figure stuck onto the globe (ball). Turn off all the lights and draw the blinds, ask an adult to be the sun and hold the torch.


Children to draw an image of the earth and sun and write an explanation of how day and night are formed.


Challenge: Explain what is happening on the other side of earth when it is our daytime.



Can I describe the movement of the moon relative to the Earth?


Are there any objects that orbit the Earth? Satellites, International Space Station (ISS), Moon.

Why don’t they just float away? Which force keeps objects orbiting? Briefly discuss gravity as an attracting force and why it is important. Show video of moon orbiting the Earth.


How does the moon move? Does it rotate? Why the moon is only lit from one side?

Explain that, like Earth, the moon also rotates anticlockwise on its axis. The moon orbits earth. The Moon takes about 27 days (27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes, 11.6 seconds) to go all the way around the Earth and return to its starting position and this is why the moon appears to look different in the sky at different times of the month. The moon isn’t changing, it’s the amount the sun is illuminating that we see.


Look at the following sections from the above website: Did you know? Why can we see the moon?


Draw a diagram that shows how the movement of the earth and moon relative to the sun. Write an explanation to support this.



Why not keep a diary of moon each night for a week?

  • Dinglewell Junior School,
  • Dinglewell,
  • Hucclecote,
  • Gloucester,
  • GL3 3HS,
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