Our Rotating Pianet

Try the experiments below to discover firsthand how our planet rotates and revolves around the Sun. Around the Axis

1. Use a large thread spool for the planet.

2. Use a thin round stick for the axis. Sometimes a pencil will work if the hole in the spool is big enough.

3. With a pencil or marker, put a dot on the top of the spool near the edge.

4. Put the stick through the hole in the spool so the spool will spin.

5. Hold the bottom of the stick with one hand so the spool won't fall off.

6. Use your other hand to spin or rotate the spool.

7. Rotate the spool so the dot goes around the stick or axis once. This is called one rotation. It didn't take very long to rotate your planet once, did it?

It takes 24 hours for Earth to rotate once. We call this amount of time a day. Other planets take different amounts of time to rotate on their axis.

While Earth is spinning, it is also revolving or moving around the Sun. We usually say that it takes 365 days for the Earth to orbit the Sun once. Remember, it really takes 365 and i days, but to make It easier we say a year is just 365 days.

Once Around the Sun

1. Put a chair in the middle of the room. Pretend it's the Sun.

2. Start spinning your planet around its axis. At the same time, begin orbiting or walking in a circle around the Sun. Be sure to keep spinning your planet.

3. Stop at the place you started. You have completed one revolution of the Sun.

4. Do this one foot away from the Sun. Then move four feet away from the Sun.

Which orbit took more time to go around the Sun?

Did your planet rotate more times with the longer orbit?

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