Jeanine Dallimore
Earth Science, STEM
Material Type:
High School
  • Barycenter
  • Kepler's Laws
  • Newton's Laws of Motion
  • Nutation
  • Precession
  • Revolution
  • Rotation
  • Seasons
  • Tides
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Interactive, Video

    Education Standards

    Perfect Precession Picture

    Perfect Precession Picture


    Students will use a model of the solar system to demonstrate rotation, revolution, Kepler’s laws, Newton's laws, precession, nutation, seasons or tides.  They will use to create their own stop motion video.

    Instructional Lesson


    Name of Project: Perfect Precession Picture


    Project Description

    Name of ProjectPerfect Precession Picture
    Subject AreaEarth Science
    Targeted StandardsEEn.1.1.1 Explain the Earth’s motion through space, including precession, nutation, the barycenter, and its path about the galaxy.EEn.1.1.2 Explain how the Earth’s rotation and revolution about the Sun affect its shape and is related to seasons and tides.
    Driving Question / Problem / ActivatorExplain planetary orbits, especially that of the Earth, using Kepler’s laws. • Explain relative motion of the Earth in the solar system, the solar system in the galaxy, and the galaxy in the universe—including the expanding nature of the universe; Orbital motion (Earth around the Sun- once/year, seasons depend upon an approximate 23.5 degree tilt); Rotation around our axis (day/night,) • Explain Precession—change in direction of the axis, but without any change in tilt—this changes the stars near (or not near) the Pole, but does not affect the seasons (as long as the angle of 23.5 degrees stays the same) • Explain nutation—wobbling around the precessional axis (This is a change in the angle—½ degree one way or the other. This occurs over an 18 year period and is due to the Moon exclusively. This would very slightly increase or decrease the amount of seasonal effects.) Describe daily changes due to rotation, seasonal changes due to the tilt and revolution of the Earth, and tidal impact due to the gravitational interaction between the Earth and moon. • Develop a cause and effect model for the shape of the Earth explaining why the circumference around the equator is larger than that around the poles.
    Project SummaryStudents will use a model of the solar system to demonstrate rotation, revolution, kepler’s laws, Newton's laws, precession, nutation, seasons or tides.
    Estimated TimeTwo 45min sessions
    Materials / Resources (including link to slideshow if available)Solar system model, black cloth background, chromebook webcam, kapwing, Earth’s motions review powerpoint, Newton’s laws card sort by Dunigan Science, Newton’s Laws worksheet, instructions and rubric, lesson plan
    TagsRevolution, rotation, earth, sun, moon, precession, nutation, seasons, tides

    Project Outline 

    AskDemonstrate revolution, rotation, precession, nutation, newton’s laws, kepler’s laws, seasons or tides
    ImagineGiven the materials, how can you demonstration rotation, revolution, precession, nutation, newton’s laws, kepler’s laws, seasons or tides?
    PlanDraw out your plan for demonstrating your concept.  Draw the motion that you need to show.
    CreateUse your solar system model and black cloth to demonstrate your concept. Make a stop motion video of your demonstration.  Add text, if necessary.
    ImprovePost your picture in our shared folder for your peers to see.  Evaluate other students’ work.  Give critical, positive feedback.
    Closure / Student ReflectionsReflect on your observations and write a paragraph explaining your concept.
    Possible Modifications / ExtensionsSummarize all concepts taught.

    Evaluation (Pre/Post)  




    Credits or Modified From

    Newton’s laws card sort by Dunigan Science

    Additional Resources / Help for teaching this lesson



    Sample Pictures / Video




    Teacher Comments of what worked / did not work well

    Students really enjoyed using kapwing!  Most students had never made a stop motion video before.  The students enjoyed using their solar system models to demonstrate their assigned concept.  Two 45 min sessions worked well to make the videos.  Additional time would be needed for students to share their creations with the rest of the class.