Models that demonstrate the relationship of the Sun, Earth, and Moon; including but not limited to:

  • Multiple student models including:
  • Birds Eye or Orbit View showing the Sun in the center with planets all around at different points in their orbits rather than in a line
    • Scale model
    • Linear model
    • Animated model
    • Kinesthetic model
  • Rotation: turning or spinning of a body about an axis running through it. A planet's rotation is the length of its day.
  • Revolution: the motion of any body, as a planet or satellite, in a curved line or orbit, until it returns to the same point.; A planet's revolution around the Sun is the length of its year.
  • Orbit: the path of a celestial body or an artificial satellite as it revolves around another body.
  • Sun, Earth, Moon positions/relationship
    • The Moon rotates (although we always see the same side) while revolving around Earth.
    • The Earth rotates while revolving around the Sun. A revolution is a complete trip around the Sun. One revolution equals one year.
    • Earth's path around the Sun is called its orbit
    • Both the Earth and the moon also rotate like a spinning top.
    • Earth's axis is an imaginary line that passes through Earth's center.
    • Earth rotates once on its axis every 24 hours.
    • One rotation of Earth equals one day.
    • The Earth rotates from west to east on its axis.
    • Objects in the Solar System are kept in orbit by the pull of the Sun's gravity.

Key Questions


Answer/Clear all misconceptions

Expected Outcomes

How do the Sun, Earth, and Moon interact? 


  • The Earth is the center of our Solar System.
  • The planets are always arranged in a straight line away from the Sun.
  • The Earth is the largest object in our Solar System.
  • The Sun has a solid surface. The Sun is made entirely of gas, so there isn't a fixed, solid surface. The part that looks like the surface -- the photosphere -- is simply the region of gas on the edge of the Sun that emits light in wavelengths that we can see.
  • The planets are close together.
  • The moon is only visible at night.
  • The Sun is small. Because children can see the sun from Earth, they may think that it is smaller than Earth.
  • Children might think the Sun is a very large star because its size is larger than Earth. But it is actually medium-sized. There are stars whose diameters are 1,000 times larger than that of the Sun, and there are stars whose diameters are 450 times smaller than that of the Sun, too.
  • Stars have points.



Curriculum Alignment

(8)Earth and space. The student knows there are recognizable patterns in the natural world and among objects in the sky. The student is expected to:
(C)construct models that demonstrate the relationship of the Sun, Earth, and Moon, including orbits and positions; and

More info

about 2 years ago Janet Ivey

Download any of these lesson plans here:

Wednesday, 01 February 2017
about 2 years ago Janet Ivey

Wednesday, 01 February 2017
about 2 years ago Janet Ivey

Wednesday, 01 February 2017

Completed Date

 02/02/2017 9:30 AM   Eastern Time






Janet Ivey Janet's Planet, Inc.
science 3  
Grade 3  
Career Clusters
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics   Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources  
No. of Students
solar system 3rd Grade
Sub Topic
Not Available  
space science   science education   solar system  
Not Available