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East Side Middle School, Manhattan
Exploring the Seasons
MESSI Model Construction
(Moon, Earth, Sun Student Inventions)
To build a working model showing the relative movements between the Earth,
Moon and Sun. In building this model, you and your group members will become
experts in understanding why the seasons occur. As a class, we will work
towards a better understanding of how the Sun, Moon, and Earth interact - and
your group will build a working model that can be used to visualize how this
interaction occurs. Our time will be divided between "mini-lessons" and
At the end of this project, your group will be expected to present your model to
the class. Your presentation will be a test of your individual knowledge and
ability of your model to help you in answering the following questions:
¨ What causes the movements of the Earth, Moon and Sun?
¨ What causes the Phases of the Moon?
¨ What is the connection between the moon and the ocean tides?
¨ What causes an Eclipse?
¨ What causes the changing of the seasons?
Daily Reflections Journal
At the end of each workshop, each of us will spend 10 minutes writing
in our science journal about what we accomplished with our group
and during the mini-lesson. Please answer the following questions:
¨ How well did you and your group members’ work today?
¨ Did you accomplish your goals? Why or why not?
¨ What, if anything, will you do differently next time?
¨ What do you plan on accomplishing during the next workshop?
¨ What did you learn during the mini-lesson.
¨ Can you apply what you learned to your model?
Homework Calendar for MESSI Model Project
Homework #1 Describe the seasons in New York City; when
they normally occur and why spring and fall often have similar
conditions. Begin reading Chapter 3 in your text.
Homework #:2 Draw a diagram to support your answer to the
following question. "It is warm near the equator because sunlight hits
the Earth’s surface directly and is less spread out. Why then, is it
colder near the poles?"
Homework #:3 Research Daylight Savings Time. What is it?
What are some common misconceptions associated with it?
Homework #:4 Motions of the Moon Activity. Put a quarter
flat on your desk to represent the Earth. Use a penny flat on your
desk to represent the moon. Move the moon through one revolution
around the Earth, keeping Lincoln’s face always looking at Earth.
1. How many times did the penny make one complete rotation?
2. Why does one side of the moon always face the Earth?
3. From the point of view of someone on Earth, does the moon seem to rotate?
Explain your answer.
Homework #:5 Find out about an event that is determined by
the phases of the moon - such as Jewish Passover, Christian Easter,
The Pagan Solstice Festivals, or the Islamic fast of Ramadan. Please
write a 200 word essay. You should be halfway through the chapter 3.
Homework #:6 A “Moonth of Phases” Sketch the position of
the moon during all 8 phasese and write brief explanations for how
these phases occur. Test your model to see if it can accurately show
the phases of the moon.
Homework #:7 Research what causes the tides. How does the
changing position of the moon, Earth and Sun cause Spring and Neap
Tides? Use your model as a guide for learning as you do this research.