Essentially, this Moon Phase board allows students to visualize and better understand the cause of moon phases and comprehend the 2 different views that are often given on a diagram (view from space and view from the Earth).
Up to this point, I've done a Lunar Lollipop Investigation, which I thought was great, but this beats it by a long shot! A large majority of my students don't really understand why the lit part of the moon doesn't face the sun on part of the view as seen from Earth on every moon phase diagram (see below).
Even though I give many different examples and explanations, I still see a puzzled look on several of the students' faces. I really think this method will clear it up for even those puzzled kiddos.
From this angle (see below), students can quickly see that the lit part of the moon is always the side of the ball that is facing the sun.
Pretty uneventful, but definitely clarifies this view. But as students take the Moon Board and place their head through the hole, they are immediately taken to the view from Earth (their head being Earth or it could be explained that we LOOK out from Earth and see the moon as it revolves around the Earth).
In order to give you a clearer idea of what the students will see, I placed my camera in the hole and continually rotated the board around counterclockwise (direction of the moon's revolution around the Earth). Here, you can see the new moon.
Followed by the waxing crescent.
And finally, waning crescent.
To make your own, you will need the following supplies:
- Black foam board (got mine at Dollar Tree for $1)
- Box cutter
- Circular shaped object to cut around (I just turned my office trashcan upside down and started cutting!)
- 8 ball shaped objects to represent moon (ideas: ping pong balls [use black sharpie], Styrofoam balls (paint with black acrylic paint and sponge brush, wooden balls, etc....)
- Hot glue gun
- 1 ball to represent the Sun (larger than moon ball) This is optional; you could always just write "Sun" on one side of the board with a paint pen, but I think the added visual is great!
Since I didn't have these made when I taught moon phases earlier in the year, I am going to use them when we begin to review for the state assessment. I can't wait to hear the oohs and aahs and FINALLY see the looks of confusion go away.
For more great lessons, labs, and activities that related to moon phases, check out these products in my Teachers Pay Teachers store:
- Space Science for Interactive Notebooks
- Moon Phases and Seasons Task Cards
- Daily Science Starters for Middle School - Earth and Space
- Predicting the Sequence of Events in the Lunar Cycle Activity
- That's a Fact, Jack! Fact or Fiction Science Sorting: Motions of Earth and Moon
- Day/Night, Seasons, Moon Phases, & Tides Review Circuit
- Predicting Moon Phases Color-by-Number
- 8th Grade Science STAAR Review- Reporting Category 3 (Earth & Space)
- Moon Phases Reciprocal Learning Activity