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How about having students begin with something hands-on? I'm just throwing this out there even though my ideas may seem strange or just, you know. But like Einstein said, imagination is the key to understanding the foundation of our knowledge, or something like that. So what if the earth's revolution around the sun is not as it should. What if it were more elliptical and not circular? I would have pairs of students design on a plane how they would act out the earth revolving around the sun using their new orbit. How would that affect the life cycle here on Earth? Our sense of time or period intervals? And then have students discuss the benefits of our current orbit.
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