Earth's Orbit Teacher Resources

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Astronomy Test

6th - 8th
In this astronomy test, students answer 50 true/false and multiple choice questions about the relationships of the earth, moon, and sun. The test also includes questions about the solar system, galaxies, and the universe. An answer key is included.
Easily explore Earth's interior, its atmosphere, surface features, and movements through space with this engaging application. Designed at an upper-elementary level, informational text describes individual layers, rotation, the moon, and six of Earth's habitats.
Space explorers take a virtual trip around the sun right within your classroom! They stand in a circle facing away from the "sun" (a lamp) in the center of the room. As they move according to your instructions, they view different constellations that you have posted around the room. As a result of the exercise, pupils will comprehend the relationship between the positions of the sun and the earth. Use this vivid activity in your earth and space curriculum, especially when addressing Next Generation Science Standards for your fifth and sixth graders.
Students calculate the strength of gravitational force exerted on the moon by the sun and earth. In this orbital lesson plan students view a demonstration to see the gravitational forces between bodies.
In this asteroids of the solar system activity, learners observe a diagram showing all the minor planets found in the orbit of Mars. Students answer 4 questions about the minor planets inside the orbit of other planets, they find the scale of the given diagram, and they determine the number of asteroids that crossed the Earth's orbit on a given data.
In this earth science worksheet students complete a series multiple choice questions. There are 85 questions that include diagrams.
Students use computer images to explain why the Earth has seasons and examine the phases of the moon. They create 3-D images and present them to the class. They answer a series of questions at the end of the lesson.
Learners use Kepler's third law to derive the velocity in a circular orbit of any radius, and identify the Earth escape velocity.
Students construct an Earth/Sun model of planet revolution that incorporates the orbital geometry concepts. They record Earth/Sun relative distance and Sun nadir observations acquired from model simulation of Earth's relative position and geometry at each solstice and equinox.

Kepler's 3rd Law

9th - 12th
Learners derive the velocity in a circular orbit of any radius. They derive the Earth escape velocity and prove Kepler's 3rd law for circular orbits # A simple formula for the orbital period in a circular Earth orbit of given radius.
Students observe and discuss motions of the Earth and the Moon as they spin and orbit the Sun.
Third graders construct a model of the earth-sun-moon system using students as the sun, moon, and earth. They discuss ways that time is related to the movement of the earth and moon.
Eleventh graders explore the concept of orbits.  In this Algebra II lesson, 11th graders investigate Earth-orbiting satellites as they use algebraic thinking to calculate altitude and velocity. 
In this reading comprehension worksheet, students read a one page text about the planet Earth and its place in the solar system. Students complete a 7 question multiple choice exercise about the reading.
Learners construct a pendulum using a washer and thin fishing line. In this earth science lesson, students simulate Earth's rotation using the pendulum bob and swivel chair. They explain how this activity proves that the Earth is indeed rotating.
Students examine the problem of space pollution caused by human-made debris in orbit to develop an understanding of functions and modeling. It allows students an opportunity to use spreadsheets, graphing calculators, and computer graphing utilities.
Sixth graders comprehend that the path Earth takes as it revolves around the sun is called its orbit. They also comprehend that the axis is an imaginary line that passes through Earth's center and its North and South Poles. Students use models to show the Earth's position to the Sun as it relates to the change in seasons.

Parallax

9th - 12th
Young scholars discover how astronomers used the diameter of the Earth's orbit around the Sun as a baseline for estimating the distance of some stars, and the meaning of "Parsec" and "light year."
Ninth graders explore how Aristarchus used the position of the half-full Moon to estimate the distance to the Sun, and how he made a great error, but still figured out that the Sun is much larger than Earth.
Earth's motions, the moon's orbit, and the celestial sphere are thoroughly explained in this 52-slide PowerPoint. There are a couple of slides specific to the author's class, but you can easily edit or remove them. This fabulous collection will support more than one lesson.

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Earth's Orbit