Earth's Journey Through Space

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Science, Earth and Space Science

Grade 5- 8

Objective

Students will manipulate models to demonstrate the Earth's motions as it travels through space.

Directions

Preparation
Enlarge pictures of Earth's Journey Models beginning with the solar system as the smallest and the universe as the largest.
Copy Earth's Journey Cue Cards on card stock and cut them apart.
Clear bulletin board space for the display of the Earth's Journey Models.
Stick a small cardboard cutout of a person on the globe at your location and another at the equator on the other side of the Earth.
Place the light in the center of the room and clear away as much furniture as possible to permit freedom of movement around the room.
Procedure
Select six students to assist in showing the Earth's journey through space. Distribute the Earth's Journey Cue Cards and corresponding props to the six students. Let them become familiar with their part in the demonstration and then assemble the class near the light to observe.
Turn on the light (sun) and turn off the room lights. Have the first two students demonstrate steps 1 and 2.
Turn the light on and have the remaining four students complete the demonstration, using the bulletin board to attach their props as explained on the cue cards.
As each student finishes his/her explanation, mount his/her cue card on the appropriate place on the display and link each picture to the next with string to show the position of our solar system.
Have students complete the data sheet How Fast Are You Traveling?
For Discussion
Discuss the data sheet to check the Earth's speed calculations.
Tell the students to sit still and then ask them why they can't really do this on Earth. Have them compare the Earth's motion with riding in a car or airplane. If they look out the windows, it appears as if the ground is moving. Explain that even though Earth is moving rapidly, it is so huge that we feel no motion. It appears that the sun and stars are moving, but actually this is caused by Earth's motion. Astronomers use powerful telescopes to discover the motions of galaxies.

Resources

  • copy of Earth's Journey Cue Cards (see activity pages link below) for each student
  • bright light source such as a 150 W light bulb in a clamp-on fixture
  • globe with two small cardboard people attached
  • copies of Earth's Journey Models (see activity pages link below)
  • calculators for each student
  • How Fast Are You Traveling? data sheet (see activity pages link below) for each student

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