The Earth and the Moon - Overview

Pan-Canadian Learning Outcomes

It is expected that students will...

Science, Technology, Society and Environment (STSE)

Nature of science and technology
Describe how evidence must be continually questioned in order to validate scientific knowledge (e.g., provide examples of ideas, such as the flat Earth, the Earth as the centre of the solar system, and life on Mars, which were or are being challenged to develop new understandings of the natural world).


Describe the physical characteristics of components of the solar system - specifically, the sun, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and meteors.
Demonstrate how Earth's rotation causes the day and night cycle and how Earth's revolution causes the yearly cycle of seasons.
Observe and explain how the relative positions of Earth, the Moon, and the Sun are responsible for the moon phases, eclipses, and tides.
Night Sky

Module Topics

1. Introduction to the Earth

  • Only planet known to be capable of sustaining life
  • Formed 4.6 billion years ago
  • 71% of surface is water
  • Atmosphere
    • Nitrogen and Oxygen
  • A dynamic planet
  • Biological diversity

2. Day and Night & The Seasons

  • Sun is at the centre of the Solar System
  • Earth's orbit and rotation
  • Earth's orbit is tilted 23.5o
  • Sun is higher in the sky in summer
  • The more direct the Sun's rays, the warmer it is
  • Four seasons
    • Summer solstice
    • Winter solstice
    • Vernal equinox
    • Autumnal equinox

3. Northern Lights

  • Aurora Borealis
  • Caused by interaction between charged particles and the upper atmosphere
  • Connected to sunspots
  • Come in different colors
  • Southern lights - Aurora Australis

4. Introduction to the Moon

  • Origin of the moon
  • 25% Earth's size and 80% Earth's mass
  • Orbits the Earth in 27.3 days
  • Lunar cycle 29.5 days
  • Synchronous orbit

5. Lunar Surface

  • Maria
  • Volcanic regions
  • Terræ
  • Craters
  • Apollo missions

6. Phases of the Moon

  • Moon reflects light from the Sun
  • The amount of light reflected depends on the orientation of the Moon
  • Cycle takes 29.5 days
  • Consists of 8 phases

7. Solar and Lunar Eclipses

  • Caused by Moon's orbit around the Earth
  • Shadows have two parts
    • Umbra
    • Penumbra
  • Lunar eclipse - Moon passes through Earth's shadow
  • Solar eclipse - Earth passes through the Moon's shadow
    • Partial eclipse
    • Annular eclipse
    • Total eclipse

8. Tides and Tidal Interaction

  • Gravitational interaction between water in oceans and the Sun and Moon
  • Water is easily deformable
  • High and low tides
  • Spring and neap tides
  • Highest tides in the world in the Bay of Fundy, Canada

9. Summary