Mimio Educator

STEM Lesson: Rotation vs. Revolution

Posted by Meredith Williams on Wed, Dec 8, 2021

Rotation vs Revolution-banner_12.08.2021

Meredith Williams, an 8th grade science teacher at Freedom Middle School (Orlando, FL), specializes in integrating MimioSTEM solutions in her science instruction. To encourage her students to think critically and creatively about problems through science exploration, Williams incorporates a variety of 3D-printed manipulatives so her students have something hands-on to observe, analyze, and form ideas around. Williams also regularly implements and provides feedback on MyStemKits lessons and activities, which she uses in conjunction with her 3D printer. In the coming months, she’ll share her and her students’ experiences using the MyStemKits STEM solution. First up, a lesson on differentiating between Earth’s rotation and its revolution. 

Rotation vs. Revolution 

STEM supplies: 

  • MyStemKits kits: Earth Kit, Solar System Kit 
  • 3D printer to print planets; print planets in advance 

Grade level: 8 

Objective: Students will visualize and understand the difference between rotation and revolution. In addition, students will identify the cause of the seasons - revolution and tilt of the Earth’s axis. 

Time frame: One class period (approximately 45 minutes) 

Supplies per group of 3-4 students 

  • One Sun (used Jupiter from the Solar System Kit as a substitute) 
  • four Earth Kits (two with pegs and two without) 

Lesson description 

A common misconception is that revolution and rotation are synonymous. Using the Earth Kits, students were able to see how earth rotates on its axis and gives us the night and day cycle - only one side of earth is facing the sun while the other side points away. The Earth Kit also allows us to show students that the revolution, along with the tilt of the axis, creates seasons.  

Using the Earth Kit with a person peg, we had students show summer in the northern hemisphere and recognize that it will be winter in the southern hemisphere. The materials printed using the Earth Kit are great for helping students visualize this concept. By the end of the lesson, students can truly understand why we have seasons.


Results: Students demonstrated an 83% proficiency with understanding the concepts of seasons, rotation, and revolution, including related standards, across all levels of learners. 

To learn more about the Earth Kit and Solar System Kit, including a free trial of the award-winning MyStemKits standards-aligned lessons, go to www.boxlight.com/mystemkits. 

To read more about Meredith Williams successful experience using MyStemKits, click here: 3D Printed Models Boost Enthusiasm for Learning Science. 

Topics: STEM Lessons, STEM, 3D printing, MyStemKits


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