Moon magic

Use the orreries to demonstrate day and night

moon magic

Shape shifting moon slides through the sky, a 'moonth' slips by
Earth, moon, sun, orbit, year, day and night
Spinning Spheres turning
Stars a Shimmer
Globes reflecting luminous
Amidst an infinite night of darkness

Programme of study

Pupils should be taught:

  • that the Sun, Earth and Moon are approximately spherical (Sc4 4a)
  • how day and night are related to the spin of the Earth on its own axis (Sc4 4c)
  • that the Earth orbits the sun once a year, and that the moon takes approximately 28 days to orbit the Earth (Sc4 4d)
Learning objective

The children will use the orreries to demonstrate day/night, year and a full moon cycle - "month" of 28 days.

  • The group brain-storm the differences between Earth and Moon
  • Using astronomical models, small groups of children are asked to investigate the question "How are day and night formed?"
  • Similarly, models are used to find out "Why the moon changes shape" and the principle of a "moonth" can be traced from new to full moon back to new moon
  • A full group demonstration of the above reinforces the children's findings
  • Reference is made to the moon calendar and direct observation of the moon phases made (weather permitting)