Reply To: Module 2 – The Moon, the Earth and the Sun

Jennifer Dempsey

    One fun activity to do which can be integrated into PE lessons to teach about the planets and how they orbit.

    • Divide students into teams of 8. Colour code them by giving bibs • Get the 8 members of each team to stand on the orbit circle of each of the planets, in a straight line from Mercury to Neptune (students will look like spokes coming out of a hub, as in a bicycle wheel). • At the same time, direct all students to take 100 slow steps around their orbit. • Students on the inner orbits (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) will also need to keep count of how many times they complete an orbit around the Sun. • When everyone on the team has completed 100 steps around, get them to note the position of the other members of their team. They will have moved out of line with each other. • As they stand in their orbits, lead a discussion on how a planet’s distance from the Sun affects its orbit.

    It sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite easy to do. I’ve carried out this activity a few times before with various class levels and they enjoy it.

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