Earth, Sun and Moon

Duration 1h

Our Magic Globe shows how the movement of the Earth relates to day and night. Students inflate a scale-sized moon and learn about planetary orbits by finding out how many birthdays they would have if they lived on Saturn!





Key Words

Space. Moon phases. Orbit. Day and night. Planets.

Learning objectives

  • Understand that the Sun is a star
  • Understand that Earth is a planet
  • Recognise that there are eight planets that orbit the Sun in our solar system
  • Recognise that Earth takes one year to orbit the Sun and that other planets take different amounts of time
  • Understand that an incomplete partial orbit will represent a fraction of a whole orbit.
  • Observe that Earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours, and that this causes day and night
  • Understand that he Moon orbits planet Earth roughly once every month - this causes the appearance of the Moon to change


Students will:

  • Take an imaginary rocket ship ride through the Solar System, discovering the order of the planets
  • Recreate the solar system using inflatable planets
  • Inflate balloons to model the relative sizes of Moon and Earth
  • In small groups, play a planet orbit game to understand the time taken for different planets to orbit the Sun
  • With the help of our Magic Globe, observe what Earth would look like from space and how its rotations produce night and day
  • Observe the phases of the Moon using a model Moon


Curriculum Links


  • Working Scientifically: pattern seeking, identifying; classifying and grouping.
  • Experience and observe phenomena
  • Observe and talk about the change in weather and the seasons


Year 1

  • Number - fractions
  • Recognise, find and name a half as one of two equal parts of an object, shape or quantity
  • Recognise, find and name a quarter as one of four equal parts of an object, shape or quantity
  • Geometry - properties of shapes
  • Recognise and name common 2D and 3D shapes (circle and sphere)

Year 2

  • Measurement
  • Know the number of hours in a day

Geography KS1

  • Locational Knowledge
  • Name and locate the four countries of the UK

Potential Hazards

Potential allergy to latex balloons

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