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20 October 2014
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Earth, Sun and Moon - lesson plan

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The Earth orbiting the Sun

  1. To know that the Earth orbits the Sun once a year and that the Moon takes approximately 28 days to orbit the Earth.
  2. To know that the Earth spins on its own axis once every 24 hours.

National Curriculum

Sc4, 4d.


You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to access the PDF files. BBC Webwise has a complete guide to downloading and installing Adobe Acrobat reader.

Teaching activities


  1. Place planet anagram cards around the room.
  2. Give the children two minutes to walk around and try and guess the correct word.
  3. Ask the children what they are learning about.
  4. Ask the children to record on post-it notes what they know about the Earth, Sun and Moon.
  5. Ask the children what they want to find out (Pupil voice).
  6. Give the children the Bitesize Earth, Sun and Moon quiz to assess what they already know.


  1. Watch The earth's orbit of the sun.
  2. Ask one of the children to act as the Sun. Explain that the Sun is at the centre of the solar system.
  3. Ask another child to act as the Earth and show how the Earth orbits the Sun. Then ask 'the Earth' to spin as it orbits the Sun.
  4. Introduce another child as the Moon. Separately, show how the Moon orbits the Earth.
  5. Explain to the children that you want them to find out more information about these processes. Give them key questions (or the quiz questions): How long does it take the Earth to orbit the Sun? How long does it take the Moon to orbit the Earth? How often does the Earth rotate?
  6. Arrange the children in pairs or in groups, with computers. Ask them to work through the Bitesize Earth, Sun and Moon activity, following the tasks written (and spoken) at the top of the screen. Encourage them to use the magnify glass to gain extra information.
  7. Ask the children to experiment with the models of the Sun, Earth and Moon and to try to answer the questions posed on the board.
  8. Ask the children to create a learning poster showing the rotation of the Earth, Sun and Moon. Give the lower ability group words to add to the poster. Ask the middle ability group to create key facts. Ask the higher ability group to write detailed explanations.


Ask the children to play the Bitesize Earth, Sun and Moon quiz again to reassess learning.


  1. Ask the children to complete the Earth, Sun and Moon worksheet (PDF 1.51MB).
  2. Play the Digger and the Gang Sprat's adventure game.


Using their age, ask the children to calculate the answers to the following questions: How many times have they travelled around the Sun? How many times have they rotated with the Earth?

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