Unit 6: The Earth-Sun-Moon System

Unit Description 

What humans see and experience from Earth is largely explained by the Earth’s relative motion and position.Throughout human history, our models of celestial phenomena have evolved substantially based on our collective observations and interpretations. Great thinkers such as Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton have used models as a way to demonstrate their understanding of what we observe from Earth and promote discussion about our Earth’s position and motion relative to the rest of our solar system and universe. In this unit, students will explore simulators, 3-D models, and data in order to develop an understanding of celestial phenomena and create their own models that help explain concepts such as the apparent path of constellations and the Sun, seasons, and the phases of the moon.

Unit Essential Questions

How and why has human understanding of celestial phenomena changed over time? 

How does Earth’s motion and position relative to the rest of our solar system and universe determine what we see and experience?

How have humans used the motion of the Earth and other celestial objects to develop a sense of time?

Key Lab Components

Modeling Phases of the Moon

Modeling Insolation and Seasons