Tiffany is a certified elementary school teacher. She has a B.A. in English, education certification and a master's degree in education from Central Michigan University.
What Is Rotation?
Do you enjoy watching basketball? Have you ever seen a basketball player do a trick by spinning the ball on his or her finger? The spinning ball rotates similar to the way the earth rotates.
Rotation is when something turns or spins around a point located at its center. Earth has an imaginary axis or a line, that starts at the top of the earth at the north pole and goes completely through Earth's center and ends at the south pole.
It's represented by the red line in this image. The Earth spins on this axis. It takes the earth twenty-four hours to do a complete spin on its axis.
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Day and Night
When the Earth spins or rotates, the part of the earth facing the sun has light, which causes daytime there. The other side of the earth will be facing away from the sun, which causes darkness and nighttime there. Therefore, one side of the earth isn't always light or dark.
Look at the image of the sun shining on part of the earth. Australia is on the opposite side of the earth than the United States. So, when people in the United States are facing away from the sun and have nighttime, what part of the day do you think it is in Australia? Australia will be facing towards the sun and have daytime when we have nighttime.
Have you ever been up early to watch the sun rise or seen it set in the evening? Sunrises are special because that is when your part of the earth is starting to face the sun, which turns darkness to light.
Look at the image of the sunset. How does this indicate rotation? Sunsets occur when your part of the Earth is rotating away from the sun, which is when light turns to darkness.
Earth's rotation towards and away from the sun is similar to spinning a basketball and holding a flashlight towards it. The part of the basketball facing toward the flashlight will have light shining on it. The part of the basketball facing away from the flashlight will be dark, since the flashlight is not facing toward it. This is similar to the way the sun shines on different parts of the earth at different times.
Other Facts About Earth's Rotation
Earth spins at about 1,000 miles per hour when measuring Earth's rotation at the equator. That's even faster than the speed of an airplane! Although it is moving at a rapid speed, we can't feel it since Earth is so large and moves at a steady pace. The only way that we would feel Earth move is if it sped up quickly or stopped all of a sudden, sort of like how you can tell when a roller coaster speeds up when it goes downhill or stops at the end of the ride.
Earth's rotation allows life to exist on all parts of the earth, not just half. It also keeps the earth at comfortable temperatures for living things. The earth's rotation causes the earth to warm up during the day and cool down at night, which keeps us at healthy temperatures.
Once again, rotation is when something turns or spins around a point located at its center. Earth has an imaginary axis, or line, that starts at the top of the earth at the north pole and goes completely through Earth's center and ends at the south pole. The earth does a complete spin on its axis every twenty-four hours, which causes day and night.
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Earth's Rotation: Lesson for Kids
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