December 1

Were we Lost in Space?


In term three and four our science topic had to do with What creates day and night, so it made sense to also investigate other cosmic ideas. We had enormous fun investigating these science ideas. We had a go at recording what we thought happened in space, before learning new information.

To begin with, we had to get our heads around the different ways things move in space. You would think that we would know if we were spinning and moving on Earth, as we live here, but oh no!  Our eyes can play tricks on us and our brains often get tricked too. This great Crash Course Kids clip on how the Earth moves, did help us clarify a few misconceptions.


Trying to understand the differences between and remember, rotation, revolution, orbit did make our heads spin.

So next it was our turn to investigate these celestial bodies for ourselves and really see things in action.

Space is REALLY, REALLY BIG and Things in space are really big and it’s hard to get our heads to understand that. We used these relative sizes pictures to understand that size is indeed relative. That means compared to each other. Ellen is bigger than us, we are small, but compared to a baby we are giants! The Moon is big, but Earth is bigger and when we looked at the Sun, it was the biggest… or was it? Check these out.

Still, hard to get our brains to think of anything that BIG! But distance in space can affect the size of what we see too.

So getting back to the three objets we were studying Sun, Earth and Moon we checked out their sizes. We used a basketball for the Sun, tennis ball for the Moon in this activity. Using our eyes to measure and working in teams we took turns to see how far the Sun would have to be moved away, so that the Moon and the Sun appeared the same size to the observer.

Now I told them that even though we know the Sun is enormous, it is also far away and that it appeared the same size as a full Moon in the sky. Just as their basketball looked the same as the tennis ball from their activity… they weren’t convinced.

It was time to prove it to them. Luckily I had my eclipse glasses and making sure they operated within the safety rules, they each checked out just how small the Sun actually looked in the sky.. it really is no bigger than a full Moon.  Cool!  Amazing, they even saw the Sunspots.

So it is true, the Sun and the Moon appear to be the same size! Incidentally that’s why we get Solar eclipses. These are fascinating events indeed. If ever you can, be in the path of totality.


What do Shadows tell us?



Well a lot really and it turned out we already knew a lot about shadows.


Ah, so now it was time to investigate light and shadows. It was tricky to get our room dark enough, but we experimented with torches and making shadows. Some of us were exceptionally talented at shadow puppetry.

From our observations, we reconfirmed many of our scientific ideas about how light works and what created a shadow. Light does travel in a straight line and anything getting in the way of the ray of light blocked it, creating a shadow. This gave us lots of information to get us thinking of what we could investigate.

Getting back to the sun and the shadows we saw around the school, we decided to set out an investigation on how these shadows in the school changed over the day.

In our teams we planned to go out every hour on the hour and measure the length of a gnomon. ( shadow stick, much like a sundial) Each team found a sunny spot. Lined the gnomon/poster to the North with a compass and set about recording the time and length of the shadows cast by the gnomon throughout the day.

Eventually with shared team work, our boards looked a little like this.


Once we had all our recorded observations, we could look at the information closely and see if we noticed any thing interesting. This is called analysing data.

In our teams once a gain we set about analysing the information . We discussed our ideas and made our claims based on the data.

To make our observations clearer, we organised them into a table and from that, we could create a graph.


This graphic record made it easier for us read and come up with some claims and conclusions it was the proof and evidence we needed.

We claimed that:-

Shadows changed length over the day long to short then long again.

That when the Sun is low in the sky, the shadows are longer and when it is high in the sky, the shadow are shorter.

The Sun moved from East to West over the sky because the shadows moved West East.

Our Conclusions

We know that the Sun is in the Centre of the Solar System. It rotates but doesn’t move. So that meant the Sun didn’t move, it was Earth’s rotation that made it look like the Sun was moving.


So as the Sun continues to shine light and we know the Earth spins once every 24 hours. We get day when we face towards the Sun and we are in night when we are in the shadow of Earth.

But we also know that we are orbiting the Sun and as we go on our year long journey around the Sun, we take our Moon with us. That combination of rotations and orbits does get our heads dizzy thinking about it.



Understanding how all this works is tricky, but we enjoyed learning about our near celestial neighbours and working scientifically.

We also had the opportunity to give an oral presentation on a topic to do with space. We had a great variety of themes planets, rockets, space travel, famous astronauts etc. These were well researched and shared confidently for the most part.

Space Art

For a creative challenge, we could make an alien from plasticine and perhaps their pet, if they had one.

What do you think of our modelling skills?

Somethings to think about.

What did you think of this science unit?

What didn’t you like investigating?

What would you like to do more of?

What are you still puzzled about and would like to learn more about?

Would you like to work in space?

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Posted December 1, 2016 by elleneisenkolb15 in category History, Literacy, Science, Team work, Technology

20 thoughts on “Were we Lost in Space?

  1. Bella Z

    Hola Shayla,
    I really like the new post do you like it? Did you get enough time to do your blog comen’t? because I didn’t but I gust did it in the mourning I have to go know because lily is spewing from last night because she ate far too much food from BellaZ 😰.

  2. Maggie

    Glad Jul Ellen,
    I remembered a Christmas greeting! (It’s Glad Jul, if you haven’t already guessed.) Those eclipse glasses were cool (the ones that we looked at the sun with) and we could even see sun spots with them! I think there was about three or four. One big one and a couple of really small ones. Where did you get the glasses from? Which state? What city/town? And what price? (I’m thinking of buying myself a pair)
    From Maggie

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Fröhliche Weihnachten Maggie,
      You are clever at remembering such difficult things. Do you remember mine? That’s my favourite because I use it with my family all the time at Christmas. Now I got those glasses when I went to see the eclipse at Mt Hopless, in 2002 I think it was then. I got some more when I went to Turkey in 2006. I purchased them from the Astronomical Society for about a few dollars. You could google them and see where you can get a pair. Next year Peter and I will visit America as there will be an eclipse in August. Then of course while we are there we will do some hiking as they have excellent trails through amazing countryside. But that is a while off so now we have sadly only one more week together. What are you planning for the break? What will you get up to? What would you like to do?
      Tschüs ( German for See Ya )

  3. Maggie

    Shalom Pria,
    those aliens are cute, aren’t they?(the ones that appear next to our names after we leave a comment) One of them looks like a blue Christmas tree! (well, more like a blue Christmas tree with no decorations and a ninja mask and eyes and a mouth and silver robotic arms and a very small amount of hair and robotic legs with silver and yellow wheels attached on the end for feet) Also the aliens we made out of plasticine were funny too. There are two pictures of mine. Its the one who looks a little bit like a scorpion but has one big eye instead of two and weird feelers underneath the head and hair and a support-tail sort of thing below the tail. Also the fact that it is red, yellow, orange, pink, purple, peach and white.
    Love from Maggie

  4. Bella Z

    Hola Ellen,
    Nice post I really liked it did you?Sorry that
    I dodn’t go on the blog last night it was only
    because I was at my grandmas house hope
    You do not mind from BellaZ.

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      G’day Bella,
      I’m glad you like our work on the post. Are you telling me that you Gan doesn’t have wifi or access to computer? How do you show her your classroom work? Of course I don’t mind if you can’t visit our blog we are all such busy people. Who do you share the blog with?
      Cheers Ellen

  5. shayla

    Bonjour Ella,
    I liked you doing the sunglasses it was cool yours was good. Your alien was cool as well . Did you like the new post that Ellen put up?Thankyou for playing with me today it was fun.Best Wishes Shayla

  6. Kiara

    Hi Ellen
    I wrote you a message on the blog but I accidently said Ella’s name I am so sorry Ellen the message is the first comment sorry

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Howdy Kiara,
      I thought you were asking Ella some strange questions. I reckon all the aliens look cool I wonder how yours were put together! I put the space post up because I finally had time to organise all the photos, and I had to wait until you completed you poster test. I’m glad you like it.
      Cheers Ellen

  7. Kiara

    To Ella
    I really like the space thing me and Ella’s aliens are next to each other’s do you think me and Ella’s alien look cute together? Why did you put space up on the blog we already leant about space in term 3 why didn’t you put it up then? but any way it still looks cool.

  8. Pria

    Apa kabar Ellen,
    My big cousin Lucy is interested in space and is still trying to get more information from her space book, it feels like the book goes on forever like the universe! Do you have any cousins interested in space?

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Hello Pria,
      Lucy must be an inquisitive person and that is a good thing. There is lots of information around on space NASA has lots of sites worth looking at and of course the library has many books. Will she be studying space?

      I actually don’t know my cousins at all, as my family are immigrants and we are the only ones here in Australia, all their family member are back in Germany and although I did visit once, they were kind of strangers to me and I haven’t heard from them. so no I don’t know if they are interested in space.

      Enjoy your weekend
      Cheers Ellen

  9. Hamish

    Bonjor Ellen,
    I am interested about the Sun and the Moon this year because you have been a great teacher this year. I like space because I love the Sun and the Moon. What do you like about space and why?

    1. elleneisenkolb15 (Post author)

      Greetings Hamish (Earthling),
      I’m glad you enjoyed learning more about the Sun and Moon this year. Thank you for your lovely feedback.
      Space is a fascinating topic to learn about. There are so many things that are amazing up there beyond our little world. I like learning about all the new and exciting discoveries that are being made. I also like the history of space exploration. Did you know that most of what goes on in space is still unknown. In fact we can only see a little of it. Much of what is out there in space is undetectable so scientists are still trying to figure out what that is. Perhaps you’ll be able to be a discoverer a science explorer. I think you’ll be able to do more space learning in year five. Thanks for your help sorting out the coins you found a great way to solve that problem.
      Warm regards Ellen

  10. Kiara

    To Ella
    Did you see that our aliens are next to each other in the photo? Do you like the new post that the teacher put up about space it looked really cute that our aliens were together I liked the photo of you trying to see sun.
    From Kiara


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