Bringing Moon Phases Down to Earthby: Leesa Hubbard

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Teaching astronomy concepts to elementary students does not have to be complicated or require expensive materials. As a teacher resource agent for the American Astronomical Society and through involvement with other science- or astronomy-related organizations, the author has discovered through experience that sometimes it’s the simplest hands-on activities that are the most effective in conveying astronomy concepts. In this article, she shares her process for introducing K—4 students to the phases of the moon.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

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Reviews (5)
  • on Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:51 PM

This article details activities in a K-4 classroom that emphasize observing the moon over several nights to understand the phases of the moon. The activities enable students to recognize that there are slight changes every night, but over a week and a month there are significant changes to the moon. The author provides differentiation strategies and a connection to standards. The article also contains a link to additional resources including a lunar observation chart, a moon journal, and a moon survey.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:58 PM

This simple moon observation activity dispels the notion that the moon can only be seen at night and teaches children how to observe and record data. An outstanding activity for K-3.

Pamela A
Pamela A

  • on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:03 PM

Starting with the crescent phase this educator introduces students to moon phases during classroom time so that students can make actual observations. This is following by a moon tracking chart students complete for a week at home in the evening. Students are surprised you can see the moon during the day. The author also talks about modifying the activity as well.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:39 PM

I love the ideas that all teachers can implement, without expensive supplies or equipment, and this article summarizes one of those ideas. The concept of phases of the moon is often full of misconceptions, and this one is a way to start a study of the motions of the earth, sun and moon. Be aware, though, that is is only a start and that there is much more to be explored in order to be truly understood.

Wendy  (Pocatello, ID)
Wendy (Pocatello, ID)

  • on Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:52 PM

Hubbard offers a progression of activities to do with young students, K – 4, to help them understand the Moon can be seen during the day and make observations of the Moon’s phases for a month. Within the article are suggestions for differentiation to make sure all students understand the concept. The resource is useful, it would be helpful if more specific information on the differentiated resources were available. The lunar observation chart referenced as a download, is no longer available.

Sandra Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandra Gady (Renton, WA)

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