Celestial Mechanics:  Earth, Moon and Sun 

Today’s lesson focused on celestial mechanics or the interactions between the Earth, Sun and Moon. Did you know that the reason that we experience seasons is due to the Earth’s tilt?  In the northern hemisphere, we are actually closer to the sun in the winter than in summer.  We demonstrated why the sunlight in the New England is weaker in the winter and stronger in the summer.  Brrr!  We all could use a little bit of summer sun right about now!

After learning about seasons, we talked about the Moon, Earth’s only natural satellite.   Students also became experts on identifying the 8 phases of the Moon and we learned an easy mnemonic device “DOC” to help identify between a growing (waxing) and fading (waning) moon. Ask your student how you can easily tell the difference between a Waxing Crescent Moon and a Waning Crescent Moon. 

Using balls as models, students demonstrated the differences between solar and lunar eclipses.  We found out that the next solar eclipse that should be  visible in North America will occur on August 21st, 2017.  Mark your calendars and check out the photos from today’s activity!

To wrap up class, we listened to a catchy Phases of the Moon song.  I am linking it here for the students.

From YouTube to the beat of Forget You by Cee Lo Green:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkvlrWpsnuQ
 
Have a great week!
Dr. Kennedy

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