Celestial Mechanics: Earth, Sun and Moon
Last week’s lesson for the intermediate age group of students focused on our place within our solar system. We studied celestial mechanics, or the interactions between the Earth, Sun and Moon. We talked about the Moon, Earth’s only natural satellite. Students investigated in-depth the 8 phases of the Moon and learned an easy mnemonic device “DOC” to help identify between the increasing (waxing) and fading (waning) sunlight on the moon. Using an interactive model of the Earth, Sun, and Moon, students were able to differentiate between pictures of what the moon’s phases would look like from our view here on Earth versus what the moon’s phases would look like if we were in a satellite in space above the North Pole!
Using balls and flashlights as models, students demonstrated the differences between solar and lunar eclipses. Ask your student what phase the moon has to be in for a lunar or solar eclipse to occur.
For more moon-themed fun, check out the follow-up activity accompanying this post.