This is a great hands on activity to get students thinking about the size of the Earth compared to the Moon, distance, and rotation vs. revolution. In this handout are 4 mini-activities that cover:
- Compare the size of the Moon to the Size of Earth.
- How many Moons could fit inside the Earth?
- How far away is the Moon?
- How does the Moon rotate and revolve around the Earth?
- Student Worksheet (pdf) with Teacher Answer Key
- Circle templates (pdf) to represent the Moon and the Earth
- Templates are cut out prior to activity and placed in a large zip-top bag, one set per group, (construction paper, oak tag, or plain computer paper works well)
- Rulers & calculators
- Pennies – 50 per group, then later 1 per student
- Quarters – 1 per student
- Styrofoam ball with a small flag, or something small, pinned to it
Details for the lesson are in the handout. As the students were working, I visited each group to check on their progress and hear their ideas. I held off on revealing the real answers to the first 3 parts until everyone was done with all of the activities and after we discussed our ideas and reasons for the choices they made as a class.
For the Rotation vs. Revolution, I had them try out their own ideas on how to make the penny rotate and revolve around the quarter before I demonstrated it with a styrofoam moon.
If you use this lesson in your class, write about it below 🙂