Experiments and models are centered on the investigation of focus areas pertaining to force, motion and outer space. The following topics are explored: changes in seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres; changes in day and night on the Earth; phases of the Moon; and orbit of the planets around the Sun and the Moon around the Earth.
By investigating the position of the Earth and Sun and the tilt of the Earth, students begin to conclude that the light and heat energy that reach the Earth are directly related to the angle at which sunlight reaches the Earth. Students will also understand that a geographical area on Earth experience night and day when that area is turned away from or toward the Sun, respectively.
Students model the relationship between the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon. Through analysis of this model, students realize that the position of the Moon in relation to the Earth and Sun causes us to view the Moon in different phases.
Throughout models and simulations, students find that the orbit of the planets around the Sun is affected by two factors, the forward motion of the planets and the gravitational pull of the Sun. Likewise, the orbit of the Moon around the Earth is affected by the forward motion of the Moon and the gravitational pull of the Earth.
From these models and experiments, students begin to discover that many of the occurrences we observe in outer space come as a result of the motion of the planets, Sun, and moons, as well as from the forces that govern motion.
- Create a model to show that the tilt of the Earth causes some locations on Earth to experience four distinct seasons.
- Discover that the revolution of the Earth around the Sun and the tilt of the Earth causes the four seasons.
- Discover that the light and heat energy from the Sun to a geographical location on the Earth is affected by how directly the Sun shines on that location.
- Conclude that the rotation of the Earth causes us to experience day and night.
- Conclude that an area of the Earth experiences night when the area is turned away from the Sun and experiences day when the area is facing the Sun.
- Through creating a model, students understand that the phases of the Moon are caused by the position of the Sun, Earth, and Moon relative to each other.
- Create models to demonstrate that forward motion of the planets and gravity of the Sun cause in the planets to orbit the Sun.
- Create models to demonstrate that forward motion of the Moon and gravity of the Earth cause in the Moon to orbit the Earth.
- Discover that without gravity, a planet would leave its orbit in a straight trajectory. Likewise, the Moon would leave its orbit in a straight trajectory.