Phases of the Moon

Phases of the Moon

Author: Katie Lucas

Students will draw and reenact the phases of the moon and capture their work on digital cameras. They will work in small groups to complete this task and to upload pictures onto a PowerPoint.

Science Standards:

4. Objects in the sky move in regular and predictable patterns. As a basis for understanding this concept students know:

d.   that Earth is one of several planets that orbit the Sun and that the Moon orbits Earth

Students will learn about the phases of the moon and then reenact each phase using a Styrofoam ball, lamp, and digital camera. Working in partners, students will create a PowerPoint presentation.

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Day 1:
Students will watch a video on the computer/projector that explains the phases of the moon. We will spend a few minutes reviewing the names and order of the phases. Teacher will assign students to groups of 3. Half of the groups will be recreating the phases using chalk on black butcher paper (2ft x 6ft) in the hallway. The other half of the groups will be in the classroom participating in the reenactment.

Using the Styrofoam ball and desk lamp, teacher will explain that the lamp represents the sun, the Styrofoam ball represents the moon, and their head represents the Earth. They will hold the ball out with a straight arm at eye level. They will stand in one spot with the ball between the lamp and their eyes. The side of the ball they can see should have a shadow. This represents the new moon phase. Make a quarter turn to the right. There should be a shadow on half of the moon. This is the 1st quarter phase. Make a second quarter turn to the right. Their head should be between the ball and lamp now and the ball should be flooded with light. This is the full moon stage. Make one last quarter turn to the right. This is the third quarter phase. Then complete the turn to return to the new moon phase.


Students will participate in the demonstration with their partner. At each phase, the student will pause while their partner takes a picture of the student, ball and lamp. The ball must be clearly shown in each picture so that the light shining on the ball can be seen. Students will take turns either demonstrating or taking the picture.

As groups finish with their pictures, teacher will upload the images onto the computer. Each group will have a chance to import their pictures into PowerPoint and label the phase.

Day 2:
All procedures will be the same as the day before but groups will switch activities.

Day 3:
Students will present their PowerPoints from the day before.