Science

Earth’s Orbit Misconception

This week we started our unit on space and we’ve been having SO.MUCH.FUN learning all about the Sun, the Earth, and the moon! Can I just tell you how impressed I am by how much information my kiddos have learned in just a few short day… It just goes to prove that when kids are engaged, learning takes place

 

 

To begin our unit, I decided to tackle one of the biggest MISCONCEPTIONS I noticed my class was having…. Many of the kids believed that the Sun travels around,  the Earth. Can you blame them? I mean every morning on my drive to school I see the Sun rising in the sky. I can totally understand why they think this. They “see” the Sun moving in the sky every day. So logic tells you, it’s the one traveling… Right, not quite!

 

To help my kiddos explore this idea a little further, I decided to have them create their very own models. (Feel free to download your own copy here.) They started off by coloring pictures of the Sun, Earth, and moon.

 

The best way to clear up misconceptions kids have is by letting them experience on their own. By making models of the Earth & Moon's orbit around the Sun, students gain a better picture of what's really going on in space. This activity is also great for interactive notebooks!

 

While doing this, we talked about the obvious size differences between each. The kids were shocked to see how much bigger the Sun was than the Earth and the moon. They’re used to seeing it up in the sky as a small ball. They’d never thought it was so much bigger than the Earth.

 

The best way to clear up misconceptions kids have is by letting them experience on their own. By making models of the Earth & Moon's orbit around the Sun, students gain a better picture of what's really going on in space. This activity is also great for interactive notebooks!

 

Next, we cut out all the pieces and grabbed 2 brads to attach everything together with.

 

The best way to clear up misconceptions kids have is by letting them experience on their own. By making models of the Earth & Moon's orbit around the Sun, students gain a better picture of what's really going on in space. This activity is also great for interactive notebooks!

 

We inserted the brad into the center of the Earth carefully. You could also have students puncture the paper with a pencil first before attaching the brad.

 

The best way to clear up misconceptions kids have is by letting them experience on their own. By making models of the Earth & Moon's orbit around the Sun, students gain a better picture of what's really going on in space. This activity is also great for interactive notebooks!

 

We attached that same brad to the arm on the moon. This allows the moon to orbit freely around the Earth.

 

The best way to clear up misconceptions kids have is by letting them experience on their own. By making models of the Earth & Moon's orbit around the Sun, students gain a better picture of what's really going on in space. This activity is also great for interactive notebooks!

 

Finally, we attached the Sun to the arm on the Earth. This allows the Earth to orbit around the Sun. Now that our model was complete, we practiced moving the moon around the Earth and then the Earth around the Sun. We also spoke about how all of this orbiting is happening at the same time. The kids were pretty surprised to find out that the Earth is always moving. Especially since they don’t feel it happening.

 

Once we had our fair share of time practicing with our new models, I had the kids turn to a partner and share how the Earth and moon orbit around the Sun. They did beautifully… the model worked! The next day we wrapped up our lesson with a quick write. On a half sheet of paper, I asked them to draw a quick illustration and explain what they had learned the day before.

 

The best way to clear up misconceptions kids have is by letting them experience on their own. By making models of the Earth & Moon's orbit around the Sun, students gain a better picture of what's really going on in space. This activity is also great for interactive notebooks!

 

What I loved about this activity was that it allowed students to “see” what’s going on in space. And the kids loved having a model to manipulate. The fact that it was small allowed them to store it inside of their science notebooks when we were finished. I even had the kids glue their writing activity into their notebooks as well.

 

The one recommendation that I would give to anyone wanting to make their own models, is to use cardstock or construction paper. I’ve found that heavier paper works best. Especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of orbiting!

 

 

If you like the idea of students creating a model to gain a better understanding of tricky science concepts, feel free to use the image below.  Just save it to one of your Pinterest boards so you can return to it whenever you need it!

 

Love this lesson as much as I do? Feel free ot share it with your teacher friends on Facebook!

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    February 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! This is absolutely adorable! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

    Cynthia
    2nd Grade Pad

  • Reply
    Eclectic Educating
    February 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Wow! Love the idea of pairing the hands on activity with the writing.(Especially since it is a "how" question!) Definitely pinning for future reference. Thanks!

    Amy
    Eclectic Educating

    • Reply
      Melissa Yalesias
      February 20, 2013 at 4:48 am

      Amy, I love to have my students explain their understanding. Especially when it comes to science. That is my way of assessing who got it and who needs a little more attention.
      Thanks,
      :0) Melissa

  • Reply
    Middle Grades Maven
    February 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Fantastic freebie! 🙂

  • Reply
    Richard Giso
    February 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    This is a great visual. More importantly, I like the sheets to hold students accountable to their learning after the lesson–I'm all for that. Thanks for sharing; I'm excited to be your newest follower.

    • Reply
      Melissa Yalesias
      February 20, 2013 at 4:50 am

      I'm glad you liked the freebie and I hope you are able to use it in your class.
      I love new followers, so welcome!
      :0) Melissa

  • Reply
    Sarah Winchell
    February 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    I really like this especially since you are having the kiddos write about science. I hope you got to check out my freebie for solar system art!
    I'm a new follower!
    Sarah
    I Dream of First Grade

    • Reply
      Melissa Yalesias
      February 20, 2013 at 4:52 am

      Love the solar system art! Beautiful colors… Actually, I love art in any subject… LOL! Stay tuned because during the next few days I'm going to be sharing a solar system art project my kiddos have also been working on. I'm so excited to share!!!!
      :0) Melissa

  • Reply
    Courtney
    February 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I can't wait to use this today! woo hoo! Thanks

    missthirdgrade.com

  • Reply
    Sue Cahalane
    April 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I love this! Thanks for the great freebie! I'm your newest follower:)

    ✿Sue✿
    Science for Kids Blog

  • Reply
    Kim
    October 7, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you for the FREEBIE! It is exactly what I was looking for!

  • Reply
    Ana maestra ;)
    February 10, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you very much, I´ve just started the sun and earth unit with my second grade students and this is very useful. You´ve got a new follower now 😉

  • Reply
    Maria Popescu
    May 9, 2015 at 5:21 am

    It is not free, but I thank you for the idea; I wish it were free…

    • Reply
      Melissa Yalesias
      March 30, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      Hi there, Maria! It is a free download… Just click on the link above so that you can download your free copy.
      :0) Melissa

  • Reply
    Jessica Vermeulen
    June 9, 2015 at 4:26 am

    Perfect! Thanks

  • Reply
    blog1
    January 17, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Tank you for this very beautiful idea ?. I take for my pupils Sorry I don't speak english!

    • Reply
      Melissa Yalesias
      March 30, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      You are quite welcome! I hope your students enjoy this activity.

    • Reply
      Melissa Yalesias
      March 30, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      You are quite welcome! I hope your students enjoy this activity.

  • Reply
    Cindy
    February 16, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Brilliant idea to explain lots of concepts

    • Reply
      Melissa Yalesias
      March 30, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      Cindy, you are absolutely right! This illustration can be used to explain so many concepts to your students. I love how it's very visual so it allows students to "see" such an abstract concept.

  • Reply
    CR
    August 4, 2016 at 12:37 am

    You said the children believe the sun orbits around the sun. Can you correct that to say "earth". Thank you. Great idea! You must be a fun teacher!

  • Reply
    Maria
    October 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I love your cut out earth moon and sun, I used this when I was teaching in the UK but now I teach in the US and don’t have a copy of it! Do you have a freebee copy or know where I can get a copy of this please?!

    • Reply
      Melissa
      October 24, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Hi there, Maria… Oh wow you’ve made quite the move there from the UK on over to the US! I’m so glad to hear that you found my activity helpful. If you click here you’ll be taken to my TpT store where you can download this resource for free. Let me know if you have any issues!

  • Reply
    Michaela
    January 21, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Hei Melissa, wonderful idea. Where i can get the mecanism that helps rotate the elements? can i make myself those staples? Thank you for your inspiration!

    • Reply
      Melissa
      January 21, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Michaela…
      They are called “brads”. You can find them on Amazon, at Dollar stores, office supply stores and even some convenience stores like Target, Walgreens, etc… I wouldn’t recommend using staples. The staples will not let the pieces rotate completely.

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