Round and round we go: Why we have seasons and the moon has phases

Celestial Mechanics:  Earth, Moon and Sun 

The 3rd and 4th graders at CHA continued their journey through space today as they learned about 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 on its axis? In the northern hemisphere, we are actually closer to the sun in the winter than in summer! We explored this concept by shining flashlights on balls representing Earth. The students discovered that locations receiving direct sunlight experience hotter temperatures compared to those receiving angled, indirect sunlight. Moral of the story: Don’t go to Australia in the summer; it’s winter there! After learning about seasons, we talked about the Moon and it’s movements through space. We have only ever viewed one side of the moon from Earth due to it’s rotation on its axis! They also investigated the 8 phases of the Moon and learned an easy mnemonic device “DOC” to help identify between a growing (waxing) and fading (waning) moon. Using balls and flashlights as models, students demonstrated the differences between solar and lunar eclipses.  Finally, the students learned how the phases of the moon correlate with the Hebrew calendar!

Ask your student how to tell the difference between a Waxing Crescent Moon and a Waning Crescent Moon.


Visit this link to watch a 5 minute video about seasons.

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