The activity is structured into four parts: 1) What do you already know? 2) The matching game 3) Revolving Earth 4) Sun-Earth-Moon mobile.
Print the mobile activity worksheet for each student. Prepare the listed materials. For the matching game, print one copy of the game sheet per three students onto stiff card paper. Cut out all the cards before the activity.
Image: Siyavula Education (not to scale)
Activity 1: What do you already know?
Step 1: Provide each child with an A4 sheet of paper and some colouring pencils.
Step 2: Encourage students to draw the Sun, Earth and Moon and to write any words they associate with them. Discuss what the students have drawn/written.
Step 3: Write their ideas on an A2 sheet of paper and display it in the classroom. Explain to the students that they can add to this whenever they like, either in words or drawings.
Activity 2: Solar System matching game
Step 1: The students play a matching game to learn some differences between the Sun, Earth and Moon. Explain how the matching game works: in groups of three, students match the picture cards with the cards that have the matching texts. The game finishes when all the card pairs have been found.
Step 2: Before starting the game, encourage the students to lay out all the cards and look at all of the images and texts on the cards.
Step 3: Afterwards, show students the correct pairing of the cards (use the answer sheet of the game). Then, discuss what the students learnt about the properties of Sun, Earth and Moon covering the following points: - It is much hotter on the Sun than on Earth, because the Sun is a star. - Stars are much hotter and brighter than planets. - The temperature on Earth is hotter than the temperature water freezes, but colder than the temperature water boils, giving us liquid water, and therefore oceans, on Earth. - The temperature on the Moon can range from very cold to very hot. - The Sun is more than a hundred times wider than the Earth. - The Earth is about four times wider than the Moon.
Activity 3: The revolving Earth
Step 1: Draw a picture of the Earth in the middle of the board. Explain that the Moon revolves around the Earth, and then add it to the drawing. Now explain that both the Earth and the Moon revolve around the Sun. Draw this on the board as well.
Step 2: Invite three students to come to the front of the class. Explain that student 1 is the Moon, student 2 is the Earth and student 3 is the Sun. Encourage the students to enact the movement of the Moon around the Earth and the spinning of the Earth on its axis while it revolves around the Sun. Explain that the Moon, a natural satellite, revolves around the Earth, a planet, and both revolve around the Sun, a star.
Step 3: Explain that they are going to make a mobile showing this.
Activity 4: The Sun-Earth-Moon mobile
Step 1: Now distribute the Sun-Earth-Moon mobile worksheet and explain the ten steps to making the Sun mobile. Talk through the instructions together.
Step 2: The wooden skewers are used for the top bar. Help the students tie the string to the wooden skewers. Using the drawing, demonstrate how to put the rest of the mobile together.
Step 3: Hang the mobiles in the classroom. Check that the mobiles they have made work properly. Does the Earth revolve around the Sun and the Moon around the Earth?