How can I better improve my student's understanding of the phases of the moon? Are there other activites that are more inquiry based for my students?

 

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Moon_Phases.doc (2.26 Mb)

Shannon Tran
Shannon Tran
645 Activity Points

I recently discovered a fun and unique way to learn about the phases of the moon using Oreo cookies (or off brand sandwich cookies). Students are actively engaged in learning about the different phases of the moon by using Oreo cookies to construct each phase of the moon. I have attached a link to a free resource by Rockin' Teacher Materials-Hilary Lewis on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Phases-of-the-Moon-Oreo-Activity-FREEBIE-158654

I hope this helps! 

Makensy Stump
Makensy Stump
819 Activity Points

Hello Shannon,

Popular activities like labelling handouts, cutting out paper or cardboard, and the popular (and tasty) turning cream-filled cookies into the different shapes only demonstrate that students can tell you what a waning gibbous or waxing crescent moon looks like.  I would say that these two-dimensional, hands-on activities may actually reinforce that the moon could be flat! 

Ask your students to just observe the moon.  What’s its shape, colour, placement in the sky?  Does it change during the day? Have them take photos or draw on calendars over a few weeks or months. The great thing: observe the moon during the day in your own school yard.   Can they create a model that explains what they observe?  [ Don’t worry if they don’t – western cultures didn’t really figure it out until Copernicus and Galileo came along.] 

Conduct a demonstration by putting a projector at one end of a darkened classroom or, better yet, a large space like a library or gym.  Have the students stand in a cluster in the middle with a large ball (Earth) and face the projector.  Spinning in place they should discern how day and night occurs.  With the students still in the middle, you walk counter-clockwise around the periphery with a ball representing the moon.  Observe and record the lit and unlit portions at different points in your orbit.  Other observations to make: walk clockwise; create eclipses; spin the moon at different rates.

The main ideas students need to understand are that the phases of the moon are caused by reflecting sunlight, being spherical and orbiting around the Earth. 

Hope this helps!



Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
3373 Activity Points

What misconceptions have you noticed your students showing/what sort of understanding do they need more instruction in?

Amanda Fraley
Amanda Fraley
555 Activity Points

Hello Amanda,

Are you asking about misconceptions in general or related to the phases of the moon?

- Gabe

Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
3373 Activity Points

https://youtu.be/fW4EpHfUQvo

Hello fellow science teacher,
 
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George Mehler
George Mehler
1335 Activity Points

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