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Lessons > Sun Lessons: Day and Night

Sun Lessons

Day and Night | Seasons and Daylight | Shadows | Sun Shadows

Day and Night

Purpose: Students will demonstrate that the Earth spins to give us day and night.

Key Concept: Earth's rotation causes the Sun to appear to rise and set

Multiple Intelligences: Integration of Spatial intelligence with Kinesthetic intelligence


1. Have students draw a picture of their home in the daytime and at night. Discuss what they drew identifying the Sun, Moon and Stars.

2. Display students' day pictures on a wall and their night pictures on the opposite wall.

3. Ask students why can't we see the Sun at night.

4. Discuss with students that the only looks like it rises and sets but what really happens is Earth turns making the Sun appear as though it moves across the sky.

5. Show students on a globe that United States is on the opposite side of Earth from China. Tell students that in this activity, they are Earth, their face is the United
States and the back of them is China.

6. Have students stand in front of their day drawings, place their right hands over their heart and rotate themselves slowly (following their fingers, from left to right) while paying attention to when their day drawings disappear out of view and their night drawings appear until they are directly facing the night drawings.

7. Discuss with students that their day pictures didn't move yet they are completely out of vision. Discuss that in this same manner, Earth turns away from the Sun.

8. Have students rotate until the day pictures are in front of them again.

9. Discuss with students that it takes Earth 24 hours to spin around once.

10. Introduce dusk, midnight, dawn and noon (midday) and repeat the exercise.

Activity extensions:
Incorporate Math Concepts
Have students to make Day & Night stories to go with their drawings

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Learn more about the sun in the Phenomena section of the Bringing the Heavens to Earth module.


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