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 Is the earth really spinning?
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Robb
SFN Regular

USA
1223 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  10:45:22  Show Profile Send Robb a Private Message
My 4 1\2 year old daughter asked me last week "Why is the earth spinning round and round and round"? I gave a short response, to which she replied "I don't think it is daddy". I asked her why and she said that "I can't feel it". I then tried to convince her that it was spinning saying that we are going the same speed so we can't feel it, I even tried to demonstrate it to her on her globe in her room. I could not convince her that the earth is spinning.

I think I have a little skeptic on my hands.

She asks everyday when I get home from work if the earth is spinning. I say yes and she denies the fact. It is actually quite fun and has started to be a little game with her but does anybody have any ideas on how to convince her? Remember she is four. Thanks.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington

Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  10:55:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Robb

My 4 1\2 year old daughter asked me last week "Why is the earth spinning round and round and round"? I gave a short response, to which she replied "I don't think it is daddy". I asked her why and she said that "I can't feel it". I then tried to convince her that it was spinning saying that we are going the same speed so we can't feel it, I even tried to demonstrate it to her on her globe in her room. I could not convince her that the earth is spinning.

I think I have a little skeptic on my hands.

She asks everyday when I get home from work if the earth is spinning. I say yes and she denies the fact. It is actually quite fun and has started to be a little game with her but does anybody have any ideas on how to convince her? Remember she is four. Thanks.



A blow to the head always sent the world to spinning for me. Although I would not suggest you do that with your child.

If you drive with your daughter, ask her if she feels the car moving when you get up to cruising speed. Tell her it's the same way with the earth. You can't feel it move unless the speed changes.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

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Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  11:13:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message
Here's an idea:
"Spinning" sounds really fast to a kid (and to adults too.) Maybe mention that another reason she doesn't feel it is because the earth is very large and we are very small on its surface. Also, the air we breathe is turning with the earth (even while it's blowing around in storms and breezes.)

Maybe also say the earth is rotating and at the same time orbiting the sun.

Diversity, independence, innovation and imagination are progressive concepts ultimately alien to the conservative mind.

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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  12:12:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
Show her a video from space. However the sun is the best way to explain it to her, make sure you tell her that you are glad she wants more proof, i.e. that she works for Satan!

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Robb
SFN Regular

USA
1223 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  12:43:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Robb a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Chippewa

Here's an idea:
"Spinning" sounds really fast to a kid (and to adults too.) Maybe mention that another reason she doesn't feel it is because the earth is very large and we are very small on its surface. Also, the air we breathe is turning with the earth (even while it's blowing around in storms and breezes.)

Maybe also say the earth is rotating and at the same time orbiting the sun.


I think you hit onto something. I think she is thinking that it is spinning like a top, really fast. I will try to use a different word. Thanks for the input, you too Val.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington
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Robb
SFN Regular

USA
1223 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  12:45:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Robb a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by BigPapaSmurf

Show her a video from space. However the sun is the best way to explain it to her,
I will try this as well, thanks.

quote:
make sure you tell her that you are glad she wants more proof, i.e. that she works for Satan!


Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington
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Wendy
SFN Regular

USA
614 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  12:47:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Wendy a Yahoo! Message Send Wendy a Private Message
Be ready to explain to her why she doesn't come down in a different place when she jumps.

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
-- Susan Ertz
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  13:43:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
Be ready to explain to her why she doesn't come down in a different place when she jumps.


To explain that, go back in the car and tell her to throw a ball up in the air just as you make a sharp turn. The ball will noticeably not come straight down, and from there you can start to explain momentum.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  14:27:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wendy

Be ready to explain to her why she doesn't come down in a different place when she jumps.

Are you a denier of the Coriolis-effect? Of course she never comes down in the same place she started...

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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  15:12:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Robb, you might emphasize to her that the "spinning" (thanks, Chippewa) of the earth is really a slow rotation. To give her a digestable idea just how slow this rotation is, you can point to the hour hand of an analog clock and tell her that the earth rotates at exactly half the speed of that hand.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  15:25:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by HalfMooner

Robb, you might emphasize to her that the "spinning" (thanks, Chippewa) of the earth is really a slow rotation. To give her a digestable idea just how slow this rotation is, you can point to the hour hand of an analog clock and tell her that the earth rotates at exactly half the speed of that hand.
Huh? According to Ask Yahoo, it's much faster than that.
quote:
The rotational speed of the Earth at the equator is about 1,038 miles per hour. The atmosphere at the equator is also slightly thicker due to rotation, and you weigh slightly less. At mid-latitudes, the speed of the Earth's rotation decreases to 700 to 900 miles per hour.

It does mention that Earth is hardly spinning at all at the poles, however. But of course, in addition to its spin, the Earth is also zipping through space at about 67,000 mph.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 04/19/2006 15:27:09
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  15:31:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
HH, HalfMooner is talking about how fast the earth is rotating when compared to it's size. Imagine taking a ball in your hand and rotating it at such a speed so that it gets one rotation every day. That's how fast the earth is rotating, it's just that the earth is much larger, so individual points on the surface of the ball move slower.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  15:38:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky

HH, HalfMooner is talking about how fast the earth is rotating when compared to it's size. Imagine taking a ball in your hand and rotating it at such a speed so that it gets one rotation every day. That's how fast the earth is rotating, it's just that the earth is much larger, so individual points on the surface of the ball move slower.

Ah, I see what he meant now. I guess it's sort of how you look at it then. The ball and the Earth would have the same rotational speed, but individual points on the outermost edges would be moving at radically different velocities...

Robb, just tell your daughter the Earth doesn't move.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 04/19/2006 15:39:09
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  15:44:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
Robb, just tell your daughter the Earth doesn't move.




I would tell her, if she still doesn't accept, that it's a fairly complicated thing, and that she should wait on it to make up her mind.

Teaching her the right way to think is much more important than teacher her the right things to think.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  17:17:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message
There are also those time-lapse photos of the sky at night. When focused on the north star, you see that all the other stars circle around it. Even when not pointed at the north star, any time-lapse photo of stars at night strongly suggests a spinning motion. This, coupled with all the other evidence, is pretty compelling, even for a young child!

Let us know how it goes!
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Randy
SFN Regular

USA
1990 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2006 :  17:33:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Randy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Cuneiformist

There are also those time-lapse photos of the sky at night. When focused on the north star, you see that all the other stars circle around it. Even when not pointed at the north star, any time-lapse photo of stars at night strongly suggests a spinning motion. This, coupled with all the other evidence, is pretty compelling, even for a young child!

Let us know how it goes!




Nice one. Here's a few pics. You could also dig out your 35mm on tripod and do your own north star time exposure with your daughter. Let her push the shutter on bulb setting. Do several 20-30 minute ones, may catch a satellite in orbit.

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap000715.html

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap021115.html

"We are all connected; to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically."

"So you're made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?"
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
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