Earth and Moon Lesson

Grade: 3rd

Subject: Science

Topic: Solar System- Earth and Moon


  1.     Compare and contrast the Earth and the moon.

  2.     Identify characteristics of the Earth and the moon.

  3.     Identify the components of the solar system.

  4.     Complete a simple graphic organizer (i.e., charts, graphs, diagrams) arranging information to be used in a writing sample.

  5.     Summarize concepts presented in science.

  6.     Write in complete sentences.

  7.     Incorporate photographs or illustrations.

Lesson Length: 1 hour


  1.     Book: If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty

  2.     Venn Diagram of Earth and Moon

  3.     Moon and Earth pictures for each student

  4.     Popsicle sticks

  5.     Crayons

  6.     Glue Stick

  7.     Silver sharpie marker

  8.     Black construction paper

  9.     Worksheet

  10.     Overhead projector

Motivation/Anticipatory Set: (15 minutes)

We have been learning all about our solar system since we came back from winter break. We have learned why we have day and night; we have learned why we have seasons; and we have learned why the moon looks like a different shape every night. Let’s review. Does the sun move in the solar system? (no) So why do we have day and night? (The Earth’s rotation causes day and night.) If it is daytime on one side of the Earth, what is it on the other side of the Earth? (nighttime) What causes our seasons? (The Earth’s revolution around the sun and its tilt.) During the summer, is North America tilted toward the sun or away from the sun? (toward) During the winter, is North America tilted toward the sun or away from the sun? (away) Now let’s talk about the moon. Does the moon really change shape? (no) What shape is it? (a sphere) Then why does the moon appear to change shape? (The moon appears to change shape because we are seeing the different lighted parts of the moon as its position changes revolving around the Earth.) Today we are going to learn more about our moon and how the moon and the Earth are the same and different from each other.

Now I am going to read one of my favorite books called If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty. When I read this book, pay close attention to what it would be like if you decided to go to the moon. Think about what you would see and how you would feel. Also think about how this would be different from what you see and feel on Earth.

As you read the book, ask the following questions:

  1. 1.We just read that the sun lights up the moon because the moon has no light of its own. What lights up the     Earth? (the sun)

  2. 2.    Why do you feel so light in space and on the moon? (because there is less gravity than on Earth)

  3. 3.    We see on this page that the moon is what shape? (a sphere) What shape is the Earth? (also a sphere)

  4. 4.    What can you see on the moon’s surface? (many large and small craters)

  5. 5.    Which is bigger, the Earth or the moon? (the Earth)

  6. 6.    Why can’t you take off your spacesuit on the moon? (because the heat of the sun will burn you up)

  7. 7.    Why can’t life exist on the moon? (because there is no air or water on the moon and living things need air and water to live)

Instruction: (35 minutes)

  1.     Introduce the Venn diagram.

  2.     Now that we have learned all about the Earth and the Moon this past week, we are ready to compare and contrast the Earth and the Moon. Who knows what we call this diagram (point to diagram on the board)? (a Venn diagram) This diagram is going to help us learn about characteristics of the moon, characteristics of the Earth, and characteristics of both the Earth and the moon. Where am I going to put the characteristics of the moon? (on the moon) Where am I going to put the characteristics of the Earth? (on the Earth) Where am I going to put the characteristics of both the Earth and the moon? (in the middle)

  3.     Now I need your help. Each of you are going to get a picture of the Earth and a picture of the moon. When I read a characteristic of the moon, hold up your moon. When I read a characteristic of the Earth, hold up your Earth. However when I read a characteristic of both the Earth and the moon, I want you to hold up your Earth and your moon pictures.

  4.     Model how to hold up the pictures.

  5.     Pass out one Earth picture and moon picture to each student.

  6.     Complete the Earth and moon Venn diagram as a class.

  7.     Read each characteristic. Students will hold up the respective picture(s) to indicate where each characteristic belongs on the Venn diagram.

  8.     The characteristics should be read in random order. The characteristics are the following:

  9.     Both Earth and the Moon:

  10.     Rotates and revolves

  11.     Shaped like a sphere

  12.     Receives light from the sun

  13.     Moon:

  14.     Surface is covered with many large and small craters

  15.     Does not support life

  16.     Has no air or water

  17.     Day lasts more than 27 Earth days

  18.     Has less gravity

  19.     You weigh less here

  20.     Earth:

  21.     Surface is almost three-quarters water

  22.     Day lasts 24 hours

  23.     Has few craters

  24.     Has air and water

  25.     Supports life

  26.     Has more gravity

Closure: (10 minutes)

Now that we have learned all about the moon and what is alike and different between the Earth and the moon, we are going to write a story just like the one we read. Everyone is going to start off their story the same way: If you decide to go to the moon… I want you to tell me what you would see, what you would feel, and what it would be like.

  1.     We are going to make a pop-up story. Show students example pop-up story.

  2.     I need help writing my story before you start writing your story.

  3.     Model writing the story on the bottom portion of the handout using the overhead projector.

  4.     First, I am going to write my title: If You Decide to Go to the Moon. I know that I am going to capitalize the words in my title.

  5.     Next, I am going to write my name on the author line since I am the author of this story.

  6.     Now I can start to write. Remember, we are writing in complete sentences, which means we need a capital letter at the beginning of our sentences and an ending mark at the end of our sentences. I am going to start my story by writing “If you decide to go to the moon.” Now, I need help. What would I see if I decided to go to the moon? What would it feel like? What would I have to wear and why? Ask students these questions and write your story as you receive answers from the students. The example story on the overhead should end up similar to the following story:

  7.    If you decide to go to the moon, then you might see many big and small craters. You would not see any living things on the moon because there is no air or water. You would need an air tank so that you could breathe. You would have to bring food and water with you. You would weigh less on the moon because there is less gravity. Therefore, you would feel like you were floating. You would need to wear a spacesuit to protect you from the heat of the sun.

  8.     After modeling writing the story, explain to the students the steps they will complete after they write their story.

  9.     Students must color and cut out their astronaut.

  10.     Students must cut out their story.

  11.     Students come see the teacher to make the pop-up.

  12.     Students glue pop up story on black construction paper.

  13.     Students write title of their story on front of the black construction paper in silver sharpie.

  14.     Pass out worksheet for pop-up story. Students complete pop-up story independently.

  1. Bullet Click here to see an example of a student’s pop-up moon story.


I will evaluate each student’s pop-up moon story. I will also evaluate student responses when doing the Venn diagram as a class and class discussion.


  1.     McGraw-Hill Science Book

  2.     Pop-Up Activities to Teach Genre by Tamara B. Miller