Earth and Space Science

moon phases

Author Post
Hannah Hoffman Hannah Hoffman 360 Points

What is your best hands on idea for a moon phases project/lesson? 

Dominique Pena Dominique Pena 280 Points

My idea for a project for the moon phases are that coloring the moons in different phases but the more interesting is that cutting out the pictures. Putting the pictures to put them on to a stand like the solar system. 

Laura Pirtle Laura Pirtle 120 Points

As a summercamp teacher we had a space week. I taugh the kids the phases of the moon with a book and then I had the studnts create the moon phases in order using oeros.

Matt Bobrowsky Matt Bobrowsky 5690 Points

The usual activities teachers do with Oreos don't actually teach much about the phases of the moon. For example, they don't explain why the phases have the shapes that they have. Instead, try something more experiential:

In an otherwise dark room, set up a bright light bulb in the center representing the sun, and let students explore how a ball (or any round object, like an orange) shows different phases when looked at from different angles and as the ball moves around the "sun."

Then, on a day when the moon is visible in the sky, give them each a small ball or orange, take them outside, and have them hold up the ball in the direction of the moon. The ball will show the same phase as the moon -- and for the same reason! (See attached photo.)

To understand why the phases have the shapes they do, they need to see light falling on a sphere. You don't get phases like crescent and gibbous from light shining on a flat (Oreo) disk.




Lori Norwood Lori Norwood 11116 Points

Loved the ideas of creating the moon phases.  What a great suggestion of cutting out the phases and pasting them on colored paper.  I think it is a fun way of having our students learn the different phases.  Thank you for sharing such good ideas that I will be able to utilize in my classroom.


Matt Bobrowsky Matt Bobrowsky 5690 Points

I'm not sure that having students cut out the phases is the best use of time.  For instance, it doesn't teach them why the moon displays those different shapes.  Also, keep in mind that memorizing things, like the names of the phases, is not science.  Science is a process of exploration and discovery.  Consider having students explore what a ball (representing the moon) looks like as it changes its position relative to a light-bulb sun.  Then they can discover the phases for themselves and understand the reason for them.  See the additional information -- including an extension activity -- that I posted above.


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