Learning materials and activity sheets
(Download and print before starting lesson)
A planet is a celestial body that orbits a ____
In the centre of our solar system is the sun, an enormous star (which is one of the hundred billion stars that make up the Milky Way galaxy).
Revolving around the sun are 8 planets. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
EARTH AND ME
Earth formed around 4.5 billion years ago and has gone through many transitions to be what it is today.
I am one person on a planet of 7.7 BILLION human beings.
This can make me sound very small – and perhaps I am.
But size doesn’t equal importance.
And being small doesn’t mean that my actions aren’t meaningful.
Across all space and time, there has only - and will only - ever be one me.
The Earth is separated into two halves by an imaginary line called the Equator.
The half of Earth that is between the Equator and the North Pole is called the Northern Hemisphere.
The half that is between the Equator and the South Pole is called the Southern Hemisphere.
Earth is on a slight tilt - 23.5 degrees to be exact. So it looks like this.
Complete ‘Planet Earth’ activity sheet
DAY AND NIGHT
When we see the sun shining in the sky it is day and when we don’t it’s night.
Where does the sun go when you can’t see it?
By observing the sun we can see that the sun rises in the East and Sets in the West.
The sun appears the move across the sky because the Earth rotates on its axis.
Axis is an imaginary straight line passing through the North Pole the centre of Earth, and the South Pole.
The movement of the Earth on its own Axis is known as Rotation.
Earth spins at 1609.34 Kilometres per hour (KPH). It takes Earth 24 hours to complete one rotation.
The side of Earth that is facing the sun is in daylight and the side that is facing away is in nighttime.
A large Ball
Turn all the lights off
Turn on the Torch
Point the Torch so it’s shining on the ball
Now that we know that the day and night are controlled by Earth spinning on it’s axis (rotation) and its relationship with the sun.
Can you think of a reason why in Summer we have long days (more hours of sunlight) and in Winter we have shorter days (less hours of sunlight)?
why we have seasons
At the same time Earth is rotating on its axis it is also travelling around the sun. This movement around the sun is called its Revolution.
REVOLUTION : When a planet or moon travels around the body it is orbiting one time.
For Earth to make one full orbit all way around the sun it takes 365 days or one year. One orbit is known as a Revolution.
Got it so far?
So the Earth is rotating on its axis, creating day and night at the same time its also revolving around the sun.
So why in Summer do we have long days and short nights?
The reason we have seasons is a combination of the angle of the Axis and the revolution or orbit the Earth does around the Sun.
Remember the Earth is separated into two halves by an imaginary line called the Equator.
By relating the two halves, southern and northern hemisphere, and the relationship the Earth has with the sun we can see why in summer we have more hours of sunlight than in winter.
What observations can you make from the above illustration?
You may have noticed that
The Southern Hemisphere on the Earth on the left has a lot more day time than night time. Shorter nights and longer days. This must be summer for the Southern Hemisphere.
The Southern Hemisphere on the Earth on the right has a lot more night time than day time. Shorter days and longer nights. This must be Winter for the Southern Hemisphere.
Besides the sun the Moon is the most noticeable object in our sky.
Does the Moon always look the same?
The Moon changes everyday, sometimes it’s up in the day and it’s shape is always changing.
The Moon is four times smaller than Earth and it’s surface is actually pretty dark. It looks bright to us because it is sitting in full sunlight! Because the Moon is orbiting Earth the way we see it lite by the sun changes, this is what causes the moons phases.
Remember how day and night works? The half of Earth facing the sun is in day light and the half of Earth facing away from the sun is in night time! Well the Moon Works exactly the Same!!
We call the side not illuminated by the sun the dark side of the moon!
It takes the moon 27.5 days or one month to complete one revolution of Earth.
Is the Moon important to life on Earth?
The Moon has a big influence on the Earths tides.
Tides and tidal currents helps balance the temperature on Earth and help to control the climate.
Lots of animal,s both land and sea, use Lunar clues and cycles such as the phases of the Moon, to find a mate, to feed and sleep!
Remember how Earth is on a 23.5 degree tilt? The Moon helps stabilise this too!
So the Moon it vital to life on Earth.
Letter to the Moon activity
Studying the moon - ongoing activity
If we were to cut a slice out of the Earth, just like we cut a piece of Cake we would notice that is has layers!
To understand why the Earth has layers, we need to understand density.
Remember last week we dropped both a beach ball and a rock into water and observed what happened?
We noticed that the beach ball floated on top of the water and the rock sank to the bottom. Well the same thing applies to the layers that make up Earth.
Density is how compact an object is.
Put another way, density is the mass (weight) of an object divided by its volume (amount of space something takes up).
This experiment demonstrates different densities and how the objects/substances of different densities interact with one another.
A tall glass
Blue food colouring
Syrup (either Maple Syrup or Rice Syrup)
A coin, A piece of sponge, a small rock/marble (any small item you can find around the house)
Add a few drops of the blue food dye to your water and give it a quick stir
Pour the water into your tall glass
Slowly pour the Syrup into the tall glass
Slowly pour the oil into the tall glass
Wait for it to settle
Let’s drop different items in to check their densities.
MAKE A PREDICATION
What do you think will happen? Will everything mix together? Can you draw what you think it will look like?
RECORD AND REPRESENT YOUR FINDINGS
Let’s draw and label our experiment.
What have you observed?
From our experiment we can see that the syrup sunk to the bottom of the glass, the water sat in the middle and the oil sat on top.
This demonstrates that the syrup is the most dense and the oil is the least dense. The denser materials will be at the bottom, while the low density materials will float to the top.
By dropping various objects in we where able to observe their densities.
Can you see how the experiment we just did relates to the layers that make up Earth?
Gravity made the heavy, dense materials sink to the centre of the Earth. Lighter, less dense materials settled in the layers above.
The layers of Earth
Let’s start from the inside out
Earths core is mostly made of liquid iron and Nickel. It is incredibly hot with temperatures between 5,000 - 6,000 degrees.
The inner core is the hottest, because there’s so much pressure at this depth the inner core is solid while the outer core is liquid.
The mantle is nearly 3,000 km deep! The Mantle is divided into two layers; The lower and upper Mantle. This layer is mainly made up of silicon, oxygen and magnesium.
The Lower Mantle
The lower Mantle is much thicker than the upper mantle. This layer is made of liquid magma and so is very hot. Down here to magma is under lots of pressure and so doesn’t flow easily. When magma reaches the Earths surface it is called lava.
The upper Mantle
This layer is solid and makes up the base of Earths crust.
The Crust is the outer layer of our wonderful planet, it is mostly made of solid rock.
The upper mantle and the Crust together make up the Lithosphere. The lithosphere is divided into tectonic plates. You may have heard of these before. Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth's outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle. We will investigate plate tectonics more in History of the ocean.
A MARVEL-OUS SPECIES
This is a Tardigrade! and yes they are an actual thing! Also known as Moss Piglets or Water Bears.
Tardigrades are a water dwelling eight-legged micro animal. At 0.5mm in length these strangely cute animals can be viewed under a low-power microscope.
They have been found everywhere: from mountain tops, to deep sea and mud volcanoes, from tropic rainforests to Antarctic. They prefer to live in sediment at the bottom of a lake, on moist pieces of moss or other wet environments. Despite their rather tedious lifestyle, they have evolved to cope with environments so extreme, they don't even exist on Earth.
These badass plumpy creatures can survive extreme conditions, conditions that would be defined as fatal to most of other life forms, like extreme temperatures, extreme pressures, dehydration, radiation and starvation. In-fact vaccum of space, throw in some solar radiation…yep they are still alive.
There are 900 known species of Tardigrades, so should we rename Earth - planet of the Tardigrades?
This is what are Tardigrade would look like if you viewed it under a microscope.
Design your own planet - Use ‘Design a planet’ activity sheet.
Think about what type of terrain your planet is going to have. Is it flat, does it have lots of mountains/volcanos, maybe it is covered in rainforest or all desert!
Is your planet going to have water?
What type of animals and plants live on your planet? Maybe it’s a planet of giant insects, or maybe it’s all ocean and full of marine life.
How are you going to protect the environment on your planet? Maybe your planet runs on solar power? Maybe you have animal sanctuaries?