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Middle school  
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This is an activity about the shape of the Earth’s orbit. Learners will first use elements of the orbit of Earth and Pluto and an apparatus using string, a pencil, and pushpins to accurately draw an ellipse, showing the nearly circular shape of... (View More)

This is an activity about the size and scale of the Sun-Earth system. Learners will take an imaginary trip to the Sun by comparing images of the Sun and Earth at different points in altitude above the Earth. This is to ultimately conceptualize the... (View More)

This is an activity about how the Earth's axial tilt causes its seasons. Learners will make a model using polystyrene spheres and a light bulb to represent the Earth-Sun system, showing why the tilt of the Earth’s spin axis causes its seasons due... (View More)

Keywords: NSTA2013
Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: $1 - $5 per student

This is an activity about seasons. Learners will analyze monthly temperature data from various cities around the globe in order to dispel the misconception that the distance between Earth and Sun may be responsible for the seasons. This is Activity... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free per group of students

This inquiry activity supports student understanding of the cause of light, heat and shadow, how to measure the passage of time, and how to use rules and other measuring tools. Students make observations using shadows, a meter stick, and a homemade... (View More)

This introductory lesson introduces the tool of scientific inquiry, beginning with observations inside and outside of the classroom, looking for changes, perspectives, and patterns. Measuring tools as simple as feet and fists are employed initially,... (View More)

In this inquiry investigation, students study the motion and positions of the Earth and how they affect the path of sunlight we get in different places. They discover that the Earth must be curved to account for the different lengths of shadows at... (View More)

This introductory lesson introduces the tool of scientific inquiry, beginning with observations inside and outside of the classroom, looking for changes, perspectives, and patterns. Measuring tools as simple as feet and fists are employed initially,... (View More)

In this inquiry investigation, students learn that while the Sun appears to move around the Earth, in fact it is the Earth spinning around on its axis while the Sun remains stationary. Materials suggested for this activity include an easel or wipe... (View More)

In this inquiry investigation, students discover that the Earth is tilted on its spin axis, and that the tilt is responsible for the seasons. Supplies required include a globe, flashlights, golf tees and blue-tak. This is the ninth of 10 inquiry... (View More)