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3rd Grade Science Core
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Earth makes one complete rotation on its axis each day. In fact, rotation is why we have days! You can think of rotation as spinning around.
Try rotating:


  • Flashlight
  • Friend


Remember not to shine the flashlight into eyes. It can damage them.



  1. Stand in one place and spin around. You are rotating.
  2. Now have someone point a flashlight at you as you slowly rotate.
  3. Imagine the flashlight is the sun. Where the flashlight hits you, it is day on Earth. Where it doesn’t, it is night.
  4. Do one complete rotation, or go around one time. Go very slow. A rotation takes 24 hours on Earth.
  5. Notice how night changes to day and back to night!

Earth also revolves or orbits around the sun as it rotates on its axis. Revolving, or orbiting, is like what you do when you play Duck, Duck, Goose. When you are running around the outside of the circle, you are orbiting it.

It takes the Earth 365 days to orbit around the sun. That is one year. In fact, orbiting is why we have years!


Download the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.

Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 3rd grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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