Explore the View from Space

1. Observe and Wonder
Introduce students to the view of Earth from space by visiting the image galleries at the links below. As students examine the images, use guiding questions to assess their understanding about how portions of the Earth move in and out of the sun's light each day, and how the Earth moves in a nearly circular orbit around the sun each year.

Each day the Earth makes a complete counterclockwise rotation in a 24-hour period. Each year, the Earth revolves around the sun in a 12-month cycle.


When students are ready to search for answers, encourage them to locate resources that may help them find information. Have them design and assemble a classroom learning center with the gallery images, guiding questions, and available reference materials, such as library books, science magazines, dictionaries, globes, and atlases. Ask them to think about ways to collect, save, and share information they gather as they investigate the science of sunlight and seasons.

2. Ask Questions that Lead to Inquiry
Start an ever-growing chart of questions that students ask as they observe the sun's position in the sky, watch seasonal changes taking place, and study satellite images of the Earth in space. Use their questions to build interest and lead the way to inquiry-based explorations.

3. EXPLORE Vocabulary to Build Background Knowledge
Build background knowledge and sleuthing skills with a vocabulary challenge.

Use the Mystery Class Glossary to create a list of words that may be unfamiliar to your students. In small groups, have them track down definitions and relevant information for each word you provide.

Next, have them use the information they find to create word riddles on index cards.

Word riddle

For example: I am an imaginary straight line running through the center of the Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole. What am I? (Answer: axis).

Each week, assess their growing knowledge by reading aloud several riddle cards for the class to solve.