Earth, Sun, and Moon

SciPackDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

SciPacks are self-directed online learning experiences for teachers to enhance their understanding of a particular scientific concept and its related pedagogical implications for student learning. Unlimited expert content help via email and a final assessment both facilitate and document teacher learning.

The Earth, Sun, and Moon SciPack, co-developed between NASA and NSTA, explores the phenomena that can be explained by the position and motion of Earth, the Moon, and the Sun. The focus is on topics supporting Standards and Benchmarks related to the heating of Earth’s surface by the Sun, phases of the Moon, and the apparent changes in the position of objects in the night sky. This SciPack also includes some of the basic details about Earth, including the characteristics that make it unique in our solar system, its composition, and its capacity to support life.

Grades
  • Elementary
  • Middle
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Reviews (53)
  • on Tue May 16, 2017 10:54 PM

This was my first SciPack, and I have to say it was really great. It contains A LOT of really amazing information. Perhaps my favorite parts of the SciPack involved the hands-on activities is suggested to demonstrate they key concepts within the course. Furthermore, I loved all of the crazy interesting facts it had; I think they would be awesome to use in a set of the lesson to draw the students in and get them engaged. On fact that has really stuck with me is that if Earth was just 5% closer to the Sun or 5% farther from the sun, it would not be habitable! How cool is that! You should definitely complete this Scipack if you want to learn more amazing information about the Earth, Sun, and Moon.

Audrey H  (Mount Juliet, TN)
Audrey H (Mount Juliet, TN)

  • on Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:45 PM

This SciPack is packed with information! It was very challenging and I learned so much from it. The interactives and quizzes were helpful to stay on track. I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about the Earth, Sun, and Moon. This SciPack helped prepare me to teach these topics in my classroom.

Lydia Turney
Lydia Turney

  • on Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:12 PM

Really enjoyed the information covered in this. I learned alot. There is a lot of information covered!

Amanda Acker
Amanda Acker

  • on Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:40 PM

This was a great SciPack! It really went into detail about Earth and the moon. Also throughout this SciPack, there were interactive activities. This is great for a lesson with students and you can use the activities for full class participation. I would recommend this to anyone trying to find a Earth, Sun, and Moon lesson.

Brianna Steele
Brianna Steele

  • on Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:15 PM

This Sci-Pack contained a lot of information from the founders of Earth, Sun, and Moon, misconceptions, as well as interesting facts. It thoroughly explains how the Earth, Sun, and Moon all interact together which proves exactly how the universe works. Because there was a lot of material throughout the Sci-Pack, it was tough. I have to admit that I did have a tough time taking in and understanding the material that I was presented with. Having said that, there were many different visuals that helped to explain the material, rather than just in word form. I also liked the fact that there was a voice recording of the material, as well. This is a very good example of differentiation, in that some individuals learn through reading, some through visuals, and some through hearing. The Sci-Pack was broken down into many different sections that were all interconnected and in an order in which made since. Over all, the Sci-Pack was very informational and could be used as a good resource for students to seek factual information.

Megan Chesney
Megan Chesney

  • on Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:41 PM

This SciPack really helps to demonstrate the correlation between the Earth, Sun and Moon. They are a very unique trio in our solar system, and this resource demonstrates and explains that very well. I think that this resource is very informational and provides many great interactive activities, which can be very beneficial for young students.

Travis V
Travis V

  • on Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:24 PM

This SciPack was very informative and helped bring back the knowledge I acquired many years ago during my Astrophysics class in college. Great refresher!

Sherri  (Tomball, TX)
Sherri (Tomball, TX)

  • on Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:23 PM

I thought the SciPack was informative, concise, and had some fun hand-on activities. I'd love to use some of these activities with students but am not sure how they can have access to the interactive sites. I guess I just show them on a SMART board.

Deborah Greene
Deborah Greene

  • on Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:23 PM

Great Sci Pack with excellent interactive videos and clear information to help students with one of the most difficult concepts I teach, seasons!

Chris Taylor  (Boise, ID)
Chris Taylor (Boise, ID)

  • on Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:37 PM

This Sci-Pack was very use and full of content. I feel so much more prepared to teach this subject as this will be the next unit of study. Also I feel as though it has helped me gain more knowledge in preparation to take the Praxis II

Chad S
Chad S

  • on Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:24 PM

The structure of the SciPacks really help me understand the underlying concepts that surround each topic. Initially, I was unsure of how well I'd grasp scientific concepts in a self-paced, online format, but the carefully sequenced topics, interactive activities and simulations, in addition to the voice-over explanations work well together to help deepen my understanding in the content area. Especially valuable are the pedagogical implications and common student misconceptions. I feel a lot more knowledgeable about a subject after using a SciPack, and I highly recommend the Earth, Sun and Moon SciPack to anyone needing to learn more about scientific topics!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:59 PM

This is my first SciPack. I would agree with the other educators. It is a great source of information for teachers. I enjoyed every single aspect of it. Loved it!

Roberta Urbietyte  (Santo Domingo, 0)
Roberta Urbietyte (Santo Domingo, 0)

  • on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:51 PM

AMAZING!! This is the first SciPack I have worked on. I was nervous that it would be too much, but the information was great. It had background information and evolution of the way scientist viewed Earth, Sun and Moon. The side activities and interactive models added to helping understand. I couldn't get the few videos to work, but other than that I loved this. I can't wait to start on others and keep learning more.

Jessica Minton  (Collierville, TN)
Jessica Minton (Collierville, TN)

  • on Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:56 PM

This SciPack was fantastic! I really learned a lot from it. Before going through this SciPack, I was under the impression that I understood the moon phases and eclipses, but really I was very confused about it all. This SciPack made it easy to understand and gave me ideas for explaining the concepts to my future students. It is amazing how preconceptions of the Earth, Sun, and Moon can get in the way of truly understanding how they function and work. This SciPack was great and I would definitely recommend it to anyone searching for a better understanding of the Earth, Sun, and Moon.

Micki B
Micki B

  • on Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:56 PM

This SciPack was fantastic! I really learned a lot from it. Before going through this SciPack, I was under the impression that I understood the moon phases and eclipses, but really I was very confused about it all. This SciPack made it easy to understand and gave me ideas for explaining the concepts to my future students. It is amazing how preconceptions of the Earth, Sun, and Moon can get in the way of truly understanding how they function and work. This SciPack was great and I would definitely recommend it to anyone searching for a better understanding of the Earth, Sun, and Moon.

Micki B
Micki B

  • on Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:35 PM

I Really liked this Scipack. I learned a lot. It made me really excited to learn. I didn't feel like I was doing homework when I was working on this Scipack; I was excited about it and very interested. Great Job!!

Alicia E
Alicia E

  • on Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:07 PM

I found this to be a great resource. It is full of diagrams and visual aids. I really liked the information on the earths seasons and about the solar and lunar eclipses. There are also several hands on activities mentioned that would be great for the classroom.

Jerica Schatz
Jerica Schatz

  • on Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:14 PM

This Sci pack is organized into a number of categories such as "the moving Earth" or the "Motion of the Moon" that helps make your search for certain information very easy! This Package also conveniently divides its information into grade levels. Not only is it a good source for teachers but it can also be a good interactive activity for the students. There are a number of visual aids and assessments included with each section, that give immediate feedback on your answer. I really enjoyed this Package!

Alexandra
Alexandra

  • on Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:37 PM

Super excited about this scipack. I had no idea that measuring the Earth's circumference was as easy as this. I enjoyed how this was a nice refresher of things that I had forgotten about from elementary school, such as the different spheres and ways that the Earth was not flat was concluded. I enjoyed it!

Susan Rush  (Baltimore, MD)
Susan Rush (Baltimore, MD)

  • on Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:04 PM

This scipack offers really great information for elementary teachers. It gives you a lot of facts that you can use in your classroom at all grade levels. It also gives examples of hands on activities that you can use with your students. The SciPack also mentions common misconceptions and clears them up. I found this SciPack to be a really great refresher and I will definitely use elements from this SciPack in my classroom in the future.

Kelli  (Tavernier, FL)
Kelli (Tavernier, FL)

  • on Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:57 PM

This is a great 101...great visuals and animations. The animations really helped me visualize some of the more abstract concepts as far as planetary movements go. Nice historical background too on key astronomers. Review of earth's spheres very basic, Earth Science majors would be bored but otherwise good SciPack.

Katherine Jezidija-Kendall
Katherine Jezidija-Kendall

  • on Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:11 AM

I found this SciPak to be very informative. I especially enjoyed the research behind the solar system model and how scientist had to build on each others notes to show what we now call our solar system. I believe that this is critical information for students. It allows them to see the relevance of why collecting accurate data is important.

Jessica
Jessica

  • on Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:46 PM

Amazing experience learning a classic lesson from a whole new perspective. I definitely increased in knowledge having one through this exciting piece of knowledge.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:55 PM

I am absolutely enthralled with this SciPack. From developing my depth of knowledge of how the seasons and how the Earth moves, to the phases of the moon, these activities provide opportunities for interactivity, engagement, and thus expansion of one's repertoire of how to transfer their knowledge of such astronomy to the scholars we teach. Excellent Resources.

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:53 PM

I learned so much about astronomy from this SciPak. Taking the NSTA Short Course that was connected to this SciPak made it even better!

Natalie Wetzel  (Durham, NC)
Natalie Wetzel (Durham, NC)

  • on Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:48 PM

This SciPack described the Earth, Sun and Moon, their orbits and interactions to include phenomenon like tides, eclipses, weather, seasons and energy transfer. One Science Object is devoted to each of the following areas: Earth’s Characteristics(Structure and Systems), Earth’s Orbit, Moon’s Orbit, and Earth’s Seasons. The content that had the biggest impact for me was the material in the Science Object “Our Moving Earth” which describes the Earth’s orbit, rotation and the apparent motion of the Sun, Moon, and stars. This object, for the first time, gave me a good intuition of how the skies move at night. I have read stories that have people telling time by looking at the stars. I could understand this conceptually, but never saw in my mind’s eye how simple this really is. As I look at the night sky I now have a more cohesive view of my world and how it works. Now that this is part of my prior knowledge, I will have a broader foundation on which to build my understanding and that of my students.

Floyd  (Honolulu, HI)
Floyd (Honolulu, HI)

  • on Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:46 PM

The Scipack was extremely informative and the ability to have it read to me made taking notes and processing the information easier. I like to listen and then reread things for clarity. The visual aids of active models made the concept of how stars rotate in the sky, and the movement of the sun across the sky good as well. I went through the material at a leisurely rate. The mini quizzes were a nice bonus as well. It allowed me to see what I may not have understood before going on. Theonly flaw in the flow of the scipack may be how the Objects were used. I thought there would be a link that would have me work on an object related to that section, then go on to the next topic. I did all the objects last and began to feel redundant in some notes and found I missed a few things I shouldn't have (oops). In final note, Please review your notes before embarking on the assessment if your looking for a real good score. The questions do expect you to know the material well.

RUTH FRIEDLANDER  (BRONX, NY)
RUTH FRIEDLANDER (BRONX, NY)

  • on Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:15 AM

I used this SciPack this summer for a course through NSTA. I found this SciPack to be incredible informative and easy to read and understand on my own. I have even used the Science Objects with my classes, and I am a Life Science teacher. The science objects about Earth Science have helped me explain why various life processes occur the way they do, and the students have a better understanding of why life processes occur. As someone who does not even teach the topics addressed in this SciPack I found used it immensely in my classroom!

Katherine Zimmerman  (Arlington, VA)
Katherine Zimmerman (Arlington, VA)

  • on Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:09 AM

This scipack was very informative and help to refresh my knowledge. I wish it had a simulation that explained why we only see one side of the moon.

Nikki T
Nikki T

  • on Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:17 AM

I thoroughly enjoyed perusing this text to expand my intellect. The simulations were extremely interactive.

Nikki T
Nikki T

  • on Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:45 PM

This site is an excellent teaching tool that all teacher regardless of the grade he/she teaches will find this site useer friendly and rather simple to manipulate. I can see the wheels turning in the minds of teachers who teach science now.

Mary
Mary

  • on Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:53 PM

This is a very good source for material for Earth science in the middle school settings. I will be able to use so much of this in my teaching.

Kim M  (, )
Kim M (, )

  • on Thu May 25, 2017 3:50 PM

I really enjoyed this SciPak! It was very interesting and alot of fun. I enjoyed learning about the different angles of the sun and the different seasons and why they happen! It had alot of interesting facts and really kept my attention! Only thing I do not like is there are ALOT of laws that are listed and they are hard to keep straight.

Sabrina Pelfrey
Sabrina Pelfrey

  • on Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:30 PM

I really enjoyed doing this SciPack. The SciPack help me have a better understanding about the Earth, Sun, and Moon. I learned more about the what makes each of these components important than I ever did when completing school through my elementary through high school years. I would definitely recommend this if you are interested in the relationships between the Earth, Sun, and Moon.

Ashley Cleek
Ashley Cleek

  • on Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:28 PM

This SciPack was very informative on the Earth, Sun, and Moon. It was very interesting and I felt like I learned a lot from reading. I like that it put questions throughout the activity. This helped to keep my interest and to also go back and search for my answers in the text. I was able to gain more knowledge this way.

Katelyn B
Katelyn B

  • on Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:46 AM

This scipack was very helpful. It provided useful information, along with simulations that allow you to experience a more in depth image of how the Earth, moon, and sun interact. I enjoyed using the simulation to create a planet. This helped me understand just how amazing it is that Earth can have life on it's planet. The quiz questions helped also. They were usually directly from the text, or supported information provided in the text. They allowed me to contextualize the information I read and to better understand it. All together, I thought this scipack was well laid out and very useful. There was also an activity incorporated that I could use in my own classroom to teach about the moon phases. This was very helpful, and can be used in the future.

Bailee Rolston
Bailee Rolston

  • on Sun Oct 23, 2016 9:35 PM

I thought this was a very informative sci pack.I learned a lot from this. The reason I am giving only 4 stars is because I believe I found some confusing information within the sci pack. For instance, the sci pack stated that the oceanic crust is 50-100 km and National Geographic states that the oceanic crust is only 5-10 km. Other than that, I really enjoyed the sci pack and it was a great resource.

Courtney Helton
Courtney Helton

  • on Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:09 PM

This SciPack is an excellent resource relating to Earth, Moon, and Sun. It honestly help me better understand the Earth, Moon, and Sun, while incorporating their relationship to one another. The SciPack itself was full of such beneficial information and resources, which as a future educator will help me have more knowledge about the content I will be teaching. The SciPack states that it is supposed to take 10 hours, which it does. Even though I decided to sit down and work solely on it in one day, it took up the majority of it. So make sure you have time to do this because it is not something you will finish within a few hours. I also enjoyed how it provides you with the option to start, stop, and resume where you left off. That way your are not being rushed and can take the notes needed. I have a very busy schedule and if I were to complete another one I would most likely use this option. I enjoyed working on this SciPack, I know I will reference in the future as well as probably complete another.

Amanda H
Amanda H

  • on Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:09 PM

This SciPack is an excellent resource relating to Earth, Moon, and Sun. It honestly help me better understand the Earth, Moon, and Sun, while incorporating their relationship to one another. The SciPack itself was full of such beneficial information and resources, which as a future educator will help me have more knowledge about the content I will be teaching. The SciPack states that it is supposed to take 10 hours, which it does. Even though I decided to sit down and work solely on it in one day, it took up the majority of it. So make sure you have time to do this because it is not something you will finish within a few hours. I also enjoyed how it provides you with the option to start, stop, and resume where you left off. That way your are not being rushed and can take the notes needed. I have a very busy schedule and if I were to complete another one I would most likely use this option. I enjoyed working on this SciPack, I know I will reference in the future as well as probably complete another.

Amanda H
Amanda H

  • on Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:05 AM

I feel that this resource is very informational and provides many hands on activities, that is very beneficial for young students. I would love to use this resource for my future students.

Taylor
Taylor

  • on Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:33 PM

This scipack was well put together and the final assessment was a piece of cake .

Kayla N
Kayla N

  • on Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:16 PM

I just finished the test and I thought most of it was straightforward but there were a few questions that seemed like they were curve breaker questions that were unnecessarily complex compared to most of the other questions. I just don't like "trick" questions and testing for minutiae.

James Johnson  (Custer City, PA)
James Johnson (Custer City, PA)

  • on Thu May 10, 2012 11:07 AM

This SciPack really helps to demonstrate the interplay between the Earth, Sun and Moon. They truly are a unique system in our solar system, and this resource demonstrates and explains that very well.

Erik  (Bountiful, UT)
Erik (Bountiful, UT)

  • on Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:15 PM

I have to be honest, I had a hard time learning this subject matter. I spent most of my life looking at living things and literally have a 5th grade knowledge of astronomy. I guess living in Hawaii and working with fish for most of my life, my eyes have looked toward the ocean, rather than the heavens. Overall, there were a lot of vocabulary words and these words are ones that I am not particularly accustomed to and many of them were not clearly explained, in my opinion. However, this helped me look at this from a student’s perspective and helped me realize that I need to explain important vocabulary words more carefully. I did find the history of astronomy interesting and learning how those before us made wonderful observations and were able to come up with theories based on limited knowledge and technology was amazing. If only I could teach my students observe and predict as they did! Learning about retrograde motion was interesting and never knew planets moved in that pattern. Again, for the early scientists to observe this and come up with a valid explanation was mind-blowing. I particularly had difficulty with the motion of the moon... again with my limited knowledge, a lot of it seemed counterintuitive. Learning the phases of the moon, looking at it from different perspectives (from the earth and from space) was a bit of a challenge for me, but I learned a lot nonetheless.. What I found particularly challenging was predicting the rising and setting of the moon. Don’t know why I had such trouble with this. Learning about the focus of the sun wasn’t explained well and I had to research this information to learn more about it. However, after learning it from other sources and then re-examining the hands on activity reinforced the concept so that I was then able to understand it. Finding out that the winter solstice occurred when the earth was closest to the sun was counterintuitive, but when learning about the angle of tilt of the earth and the causes of seasons helped put things into perspective. What was particularly useful for me was the pedagogical implications. Not having the knowledge, nor the teaching experience of this subject matter, the implications helped tie concepts together and was invaluable.

Ken L
Ken L

  • on Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:23 PM

This is a very appropriate resource for High School level content, but at time the curriculum was way above the average Elementary level. I participted to help bulid my content knowledge, but at times was even more confused than when I began. Although I understand the necessity of in depth investigations and criteria, I wish there were levels of content delivery which educators could select based on state standards. Overall it was very descriptive, but lacked interactivity at times. I appreciate the auditory component and the ability to view animations.

Jenn
Jenn

  • on Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:27 PM

This SciPack really helped me better understand earth, moon and sun. I used the first part primarily for my lesson and the students loved the graphics. It helped them understand the word sphere better.

Kelly  (Brewster, NY)
Kelly (Brewster, NY)

  • on Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:51 PM

This scipack has a lot of information and great visuals for refresher for teachers, or to use to help create notes/lesson plans for students. I just wish some of the visuals were easy to access to utilize in my classroom.

Kathleen Foley
Kathleen Foley

  • on Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:31 PM

I am so thrilled that I had the opportunity to complete this scipack, as a part of my summer online course with the same title. I am currently starting my Earth in Space curriculum, and have already turned to many of the resources acquired through this scipack to help my planning of lessons.

kristin mancusi-johnson
kristin mancusi-johnson

  • on Mon May 22, 2017 8:08 PM

I feel that this was a decent Sci-Pack. I found it challenging to complete. I'm not sure if it was me or just the level of difficulty of this sci-pack. However, it was chalk full of useful science about the Earth, Moon and the Sun. I certainly know more about it know than when I initially took the sci pack. It took me two tries to get a passing score.

Sarah Jackson
Sarah Jackson

  • on Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:04 AM

The reading throughout the study was exemplary. However, the final assessment was quite a let down. There were too many "check all that apply" questions. Fewer "check all that apply" questions would be wonderful. Having too many of these questions can be quite frustrating, and considering that the assessment takers do not know exactly what they missed on a previous assessment can cause them to second guess themselves when taking later assessments for the same SciPack.

Leslie Copas
Leslie Copas

  • on Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:52 PM

fun scipack

Matt Clark
Matt Clark

  • on Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:52 PM

fun scipack

Matt Clark
Matt Clark

  • on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:05 PM

This SciPack had some good overall information, but I noticed numerous typos and I am sure one of the True/False questions has the incorrect answer regarding how many waxing crescent moons there are in one lunar cycle in the SciObject. (I believe the answer is 1, but the quiz says that is incorrect) Also, the final evaluation has some very oddly worded questions and some that require the user to make some pretty educated inferences on content that was mentioned in the SciPack, but not exactly as the question is presented.

Joshua Kohn  (Saint Paul, MN)
Joshua Kohn (Saint Paul, MN)


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