Tis the Season for Studying the Moon

This week the 5th and 6th graders at Saltonstall focused on celestial mechanics, or the interactions between the Earth, Sun and Moon. Did you know that the reason we experience seasons is due to the Earth’s tilt on its axis?  Students demonstrated why the sunlight in the New England is weaker in the winter and stronger in the summer using flashlights and balls.  After learning about seasons, we talked about the Moon, Earth’s only natural satellite.  Some students were amazed to find out that we only ever see one side of the moon! This is because the time it takes the moon to rotate on its axis is the same amount of time it takes for it to revolve around Earth. They also investigated the 8 phases of the Moon and learned an easy mnemonic device “DOC” to help identify between a growing (waxing-wax on, wax off!) and fading (waning) moon.   Using balls as models of the Earth and moon and flashlights for the sun, students demonstrated the differences between solar and lunar eclipses.  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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD_8Jm5pTLk

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