OBP - February 2023
 

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Earth and Space Science

moon phases

Author Post
Matt Clark Matt Clark 765 Points

does anyone have fun activities on how to teach the phases of the moon? hopefully interactive and hands on?

Chrizia Castro Chrizia Castro 1170 Points

Hello Matt, In my class we did a Moon chart. Which was nice because it gave us a chance to see the changes the moon makes for a months time. On the chart we were asked to provide a picture were we would shadow in what the moon looked like. We also had to provide the time and angle which was neat because we got to make a tool out of construction paper which was what we used to measure the angle. This moon chart can serve as a good way to introduce the changes in the moon and as well as a visual for the students

Matt Clark Matt Clark 765 Points

does anyone have fun activities on how to teach the phases of the moon? hopefully interactive and hands on?

Chrizia Castro Chrizia Castro 1170 Points

Hello Matt, In my class we did a Moon chart. Which was nice because it gave us a chance to see the changes the moon makes for a months time. On the chart we were asked to provide a picture were we would shadow in what the moon looked like. We also had to provide the time and angle which was neat because we got to make a tool out of construction paper which was what we used to measure the angle. This moon chart can serve as a good way to introduce the changes in the moon and as well as a visual for the students

Jennifer Rahn Jennifer Rahn 67945 Points

Hi Matt, There seems to be a lot of interest in moon phases this week! After all, I guess it was the full moon last week. Maybe that explains it! Anyway, rather than go into a lot of discussion here, I would like to suggest that you take a look at the discussion posted here: http://learningcenter.nsta.org/discuss/default.aspx?tid=uDDCQYwyJgQ_E#35445. There is a really good discussion underway at that site.

Estefania Agreda Estefania Agreda 3915 Points

I find that the best way to engage your students into any lesson, regardless of the grade level, is to start with the classic Oreo cookie moon phase activity. It may seem a little childish at a 4th grade level, but I'm sure any kid can appreciate a little snack motivation. I just did the activity with my Kindergarten kids, and they loved it. It seems to me that starting off a lesson with a fun activity is always guaranteed to get the kids engaged.

Maureen Stover Maureen Stover 41070 Points

Hi Matt,

I love the oreo cookie model! What a great idea. Here's a link to a video of a Moon Phase Model that I recently made with elementary level kids. It's a fun, interactive activity that really helps students visualize the phases of the moon and why we see different phases from our perspective on Earth. When I do my moon unit, I also assign each student a night to view the moon and draw a picture of what they see. As students bring their observations back in, I hang them up in the room.

Maureen

Mitchell Greenberg Mitchell Greenberg 790 Points

I did this with my 6th graders as a guided activity and it seemed to get the concept across to most. get small styrofoam balls and stick them on a coffee stirrer or stick. ( one per 3-4 students worked). Put a light source in the center of the room and have groups stand in a circle around the light. Works best with room darkened. With their back to the light, hold up the ball and see all of the circle reflected. Full moon. Your head is the earth, light is the sun. Using models. As you rotate your body counter clockwise, to the left, you will see different phases reflected back. You can also demonstrate eclipses by having them look across the circle to others, they can lower the ball to make a shadow on their head, solar eclipse, or their head can cast a shadow on the moon, lunar eclipse. Various diagrams and Q & A for assessment products.

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11965 Points

Not sure what level you teach, but here is a link to a "Moon Phaser dial" which you have the students build and then use to learn about moonrise, moonset, when certain phases will occur, etc. http://www.wsanford.com/~wsanford/exo/moon_phaser.html I use something similar that a friend of mine made. This one appears more advanced, and appropriate for high school.

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28235 Points

Try using a Phenology Wheel art project and adapt it for the moon phase cycle.

You can find Templates at 'Wheels of Time and Place' http//www.partnersinplace.com

I believe they have a moon phase template.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 90613 Points

Hi Matt,
Depending on what grade level you teach, you might find the book chapters by the Picture Perfect ladies useful. One is called, 'Moon Phases and Models', and the other is called, 'The Changing Moon'.
Also Paige Keeley and her colleagues have some great probes available for determining stuent misconceptions and preconceptions:
Gazing at the Moon
and
Crescent Moon

The probes can be used for any age group.
Hope this helps.
Carolyn

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28235 Points

We use simple handheld models (painted wooden balls) of the sun, earth and moon and have the students manipulate them in simulated orbits. This is an old kit that the school district purchased. -One moon has a dot on it and is used to simulate how the same side of the moon always faces earth during it's orbit of earth and that the moon actually has to rotate on it's axis. - One moon model is painted 1/2 illuminated and 1/2 dark to model how the moon is always 1/2 illuminated by the sun, but from earth's perspective we see different phases. You could also add in a flashlight to simulate the sunlight. Sometimes simple models are the most effective, as they encourage students to problem-solve.

Kaley Jones Kaley Jones 4090 Points

The Oreo model is a great one, but another take on it is using play-dough. You could use this as part of the lesson, or as an assessment. Students can create the different moon phases with the play-dough. My students loved it!

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 36728 Points

How about the Moon project? Here you can learn about the phases of the moon and meet some of your Common Core expectations from ELA. You could also check the about the Moon project in the September Science & Children article. Kathy

Attachments

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

I have never done the oreos, but have seen many students authentically engaged in the activity. Another great activity I have seen done is country projects where each student selects a different city in a different country to research and report the phases, good luck!

Carol Ross-Baumann Carol Ross-Baumann 60 Points

I also agree with Adah that the Oreo cookie model is not my favorite activity. I see too many chances for reinforcing or creating misconceptions with that activity. I have found the best results (4-12) to have been using the styrofoam ball/light source model as suggested by Mitchell and Dorothy. I couple that activity with a moon phase dial found in Project STAR. While the original dial model is meant for high school, I've been able to adapt it to 4th grade by focusing on fewer phases and the kids have loved it. It's important for kids to experience through the styrofoam ball model how the moon, Earth and Sun system creates the phases we see. Drawing the phases then connects the observation with the brain, and using a moon dial helps students of all ages understand not just the sequence of the phases, but the connection between Earth, Sun , and moon. I have also used planetarium software (Stellarium- free download)to aid in understanding moon phases/ patterns and have used it to help kids learn how to do a moon journal- in fact, I became so jinxed by the weather when I'd assign moon journals, I decided drawing from the program worked just as well, especially for kids from urban areas who are not allowed out after dark to do the journals. (And the kids' parents all wanted to download Stellarium! :) ) Please private message me if you'd like to know more- I have some other things I can share with you electronically.

Estella Wallerstein Estella Wallerstein 140 Points

I don't have any, but I sure could use some. This is always a very "dry" moment for students.

Bianca Julien Bianca Julien 5010 Points

I find that the best way to engage your students into any lesson, regardless of the grade level, is to start with the classic Oreo cookie moon phase activity. http://www.sciencebob.com/blog/?p=828 Moon Phases Flashcard Games. Can be a good pairs game by using their leftover unlabeled flashcards. (Only the labeled ones are used in the Booklet.) Have pairs mix up both their sets on the table top, pictures up. Call a phase out. They get to "grab" with pointing fingers only. Hold your card up after they "grab" and let them collect each one they get correct. Count cards at the end and shake hands with the winner! Great fun!

Dalena Angell Dalena Angell 1310 Points

I love this activity too! It is really good and I love all the OH's I get from the students as they do this activity. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/jpl/education/moonphases-20100913.html

Paula Jewell Paula Jewell 1470 Points

Great resources, everybody! Has anybody done the volume comparison rolling PlayDoh into 51 pieces, then showing that 50 pieces would fill Earth and only 1 would fill the moon? Accompanied with that is a distance demo using string. Any experience with either? Thanks!

Tory Addison Tory Addison 5745 Points

I've done the Oreo one mentioned and the kids love it because they can eat the cookies when their done. Also one with shaving cream - where they show you the phases with just a little shaving cream on their desk, washes off nicely.

Matt Bobrowsky Matthew Bobrowsky 6325 Points

Matt, here's an activity you can use. http://learningcenter.nsta.org/share.aspx?id=sqEfD8LPuP Let me know if you have any questions about it. Matt

Kimberly Moldovan Kimberly Moldovan 935 Points

I like the Oreo and shaving cream ideas! I like to incorporate art in any ways I can so students can use their creativity. Students could use washable paints to make their own moon phase charts, then display them for others to see! You could also assign them certain days of the month to take a picture of the moon, then create a "scrapbook" with the whole cycle for the month.

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