Teaching Suggestions
What Makes Day and Night?

Slideshow Overview

Each day the sun appears to rise and set because the Earth rotates on its axis. As the planet turns, different places move in and out of sunlight. Use the slideshow and activities to explore the 24-hour cycle of changes.

Essential Question:
What makes day and night?

What Makes Day and Night?

Instructional Activities

1. Observe, Wonder, and Predict
Introduce the earth's daily cycle while viewing the animation. Ask students to imagine they are looking down at the Earth from space. View the animation for a few minutes and then divide the class into small groups. Give each group a set of word cards. Have them watch the animation again and use the words to write questions, predictions, and fact statements.

2. Explore Hour-by-Hour Changes
Click through the slideshow of images to reveal hourly changes. Use guiding questions to help students examine patterns of change.

3. Demonstrate with a Globe and Light
Locate your state or country on a globe and place a sticker to mark the spot. Shine a flashlight on the side of the globe and turn it slowly counterclockwise. Have students watch what happens as the globe rotates. Encourage them to identify which countries are in daylight while your hometown is experiencing nighttime. Help students make connections by going outside at various times of the day to observe the sun's apparent movement in the sky as the earth rotates.

4. Pose a Math Challenge
There are 24 hours in a day. Each day, the earth rotates once on its axis, which equals 360 degrees. How many degrees longitude does the earth turn each hour?

Earth's Daily Cycle

What makes day and night? Word Cards
Word Cards

Guiding Questions