NASA Explorer Schools educator Cheryl May at Lebanon Middle School challenged her 7th-grade science and technology students by adding her own extensions to the Sun-Earth-Moon Model activity. In the activity, students create a model of the Earth, sun and moon system. Students observe the moon’s orbit of Earth simultaneously with Earth’s orbit of the sun. This is an effective way to model eclipses and the position of Earth, the moon and the sun during the moon’s phases.
May knew the science applications were evident, but she was able to connect the model to mathematics by requiring students to measure angles. She took a step further and encouraged her students’ creativity by adding an engineering challenge.
This model activity increases student ability to apply mathematics, science, engineering, and geography concepts and skills in meaningful ways.
Read about the engineering design challenge May added to this activity in NEON. The complete story is available there, as well as step-by-step instructions for using this activity in your classroom.
Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.