Engage: Moon Phase Journey

What do you think causes the moon to appear differently in the sky at different times of the month? If you ask the average person on the street, they will give you all sorts of ideas about why the moon's appearance changes. Take a look at the beginning of the video. Pause the video at 51 seconds and think about what your answer would be.

Was your explanation the same as or different from the people in the video? Now, watch the remaining portion of the video and be ready to compare your explanation to the scientific explanation.

Were parts of your explanation correct? Were any of responses in the video accurate? 

Cite Source
Photo courtesy of NASA

Explore I: Making Predictions

Download the RM 1: Lunar Calendar document from the Related Items section below. Draw in the moon phases that are missing until all the blank days on the calendar are complete. Use the surrounding clues to help you. 



Explain I: Understanding Moon Phases

Click on the image of the telescope below to view a video on the moon phases. Download RM 2: Lunar Calendar Concept Map from the Related Items section below to record information that you see and hear during the video. RM 2a, a modified version, provides a word bank for additional help.




Explore II: Oreo® Moons

You've learned about the phases and how the moon waxes and wanes. Can you demonstrate the phases of the moon using an Oreo® cookie? Download RM 3: Explore II Investigation Sheet located in the Related Items section below. Use this and the video below to practice sequencing the phases of the moon.

Explain II: Hula-Hoop Moons

A very important part of understanding the lunar cycle is being able to fully understand what is happening that causes the moon's appearance to change over time. Can you predict the phase that would be coming in three days? A week? Watch the video below showing a fantastic moon phase model. Compare this model to the Explore II activity.

Challenge yourself and see how much you have learned. Take the quick quiz below to test your knowledge!


Elaborate: The Moon and Cultures

Like severe storms, droughts, and shooting stars, things in our natural world have lead to tall tales and legends. These same phenomena also have had an impact on the cultures of the world resulting in varied beliefs, special ceremonies, and local vernacular. Choose one of the following project options, and learn more about the Moon's effect on humans. Download RM 4: The Moon and Cultures document from the Related Items section below to record your findings.

Option 1
Many cultures around the world have interesting myths and legends about the Moon. Some believe each phase has a particular symbolism or that there were certain gods associated with the Moon. Others believed the type of Moon in the sky determined how the crops would fare or stood as a sign for future wealth. Research some myths and legends about the Moon. Use the following links or perform your own internet search.

Option 2
Throughout history, many cultures have special celebrations and festivals based on the phases of the moon. Groups such as the Buddhists, Native Americans, Celtics, Chinese, and Colonial Americans had special beliefs about the Moon. Do research on how these or other groups have special celebrations that involve the Moon. 
Use the links below or perform your own internet search. Use the information you gather to make an electronic presentation. It can be a brief PowerPoint presentation, Glogster, Prezi, Story Jumper, VoiceThread, PaperSlide, or any other electronic medium for presenting.