Space Unit-{Earth's Rotation & Moon Phases}

As part of our space unit, we talked all about Earth's rotation and moon phases today. We began our day by going outside to our playground at 8:30 a.m. in the morning and tracing our shadows. I didn't tell the class why we were doing it, and they really didn't ask since they love any excuse to use sidewalk chalk. I'll explain more about this activity later...

We went about our day until it was theme study time. We began our Earth's rotation and moon phases study by watching a short video all about the moon on Brainpop Jr. and then reading two short moon books on the MyOn app on our iPads.

After the video we talked about what causes the moon to be different sizes when we look at it on different days. We created a craft to help them understand the revolution of Earth around the Sun, and the moon's rotation around Earth, which causes the phases.

We then completed a yummy activity from Khrys Bosland from Keepin' It Kool in KinderLand. We used Oreos to show the phases of the moon. This activity looked and sounded so much easier than it actually was, but my students got the gist of it regardless of how some of them turned out, and they got to eat their cookies in the end, so that is really all that mattered to them.

We then headed back out to the playground at 2:15 p.m. in the afternoon and we had our partners trace our shadows again from the same spots we stood this morning. Can you guess what we found out? Our shadows had moved and they were smaller! It was a complete "ah ha!" moment for my kiddos because they took what we had been learning about all day and put the pieces together to realize that the sun was in a different spot in the sky because of Earth's rotation, so that made our shadows move and change size.

Here are our shadows at the end of the day.

Tomorrow we will begin studying the planets in our solar system a little bit more closely.