Megan Roberts                                                                        Return to Earth Science Lesson Plan Menu

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 workshop time.

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.