Students will use the Lunar Language Graphic Organizer to draw and describe the phases of the moon.
Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - 6th Grade
Standard 1 Objective 1
Explain patterns of changes in the appearance of the moon as it orbits Earth.
- Astronomy Adventures (Ranger Rick’s Nature Scope, National
Wildlife Federation); ISBN 0-07-046509-6
- Can You Hear a Scout in Space?, by Melvin and Gilda Berger
(Scholastic); ISBN 0-439-09583-2
- The Usborne Complete Book of Astronomy & Space, by Lisa Miles;
- All About the Moon, by Wes Lipschutz; ISBN 0823937429
Background For Teachers:
Compared with the other moons in the solar system, Earth’s moon is
something of an oddity. Most of the planets in the solar system have
much smaller moons, however, Earth’s moon is about four times smaller
than Earth. The moon is the only natural satellite of Earth and is the
second brightest object in the sky. However, its light is only a reflection
from the sun.
As a satellite, the moon revolves around Earth. The moon actually
takes 27 1/3 days to orbit Earth. This time is known as a sidereal month.
However, it takes 29 1/2 days for a complete cycle of the moon phases to
occur, when measured from new moon to new moon. This period is
known as the synodic, or lunar month.
At the new moon phase, the moon is between Earth and sun, creating
a situation where no light is reflected from the side facing Earth. In other
words, the moon is between Earth and the sun.
The half-lit side of the moon, or first quarter, is when the moon is
highest in the sky at sunset. During the full moon, the moon is behind
Earth, with Earth being closest to the sun.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
6. Understand the Nature of Science
Invitation to Learn
- Create and show the pre-constructed Lego design for two minutes,
then put it away.
- Give each student the exact color and number of Legos as used in
the design shown in step one.
- Distribute a folder to cover each student’s working area.
- Ask each student to recreate the design you just showed, keeping
their design covered while they work.
- After each student has completed his/her design, ask students to
show their designs at the same time.
- See which design most closely matches yours and discuss why it
is close to yours.
- Discuss how it could have been easier for students to recreate
- Explain that if students could have taken notes or drawn a picture
they could have recreated the teacher’s design exactly.
- If time permits, allow students to take notes and draw a picture of
your design as you show it again for the same amount of time.
- Discuss why it was easier this time.
- The purpose of today’s activity is to recognize the importance of
using the tools of observation and recording.
- Repeat the lesson from the TRB 6:1 Activity 1-It’s Just a
Pause after each of the major phases.
- The four major phases of the moon are new moon, first
quarter, last quarter, and full moon.
- The other phases are optional and not required in the state
Core Curriculum. If time permits, these other phases are
- Use the Lunar Language Graphic Organizer to:
- Draw what you see in the smaller box labeled ‘draw.’
- Describe what you see in the box below, labeled ‘description.’
- Be sure you have had previous lessons on descriptive
language and the importance of word choice.
- You can give your students hints on how to help describe
these phases. Encourage them to use qualitative (five
senses) and quantitative (numerical) research.
- Repeat this process for the next three major phases from new
moon, to first quarter, full moon, and last quarter, until the
graphic organizer is complete.
- Using the same graphic organizer, model on the overhead how
student graphic organizers should look. Be sure to model
descriptive language and the names of the phases of the moon.
- Ask for feedback and hints from students to add to this list.
- Each student can add to his/her graphic organizer as you
discuss each box or phase.
- Students may keep this organizer, or you may collect them for
the next activity.
ABC Moon Words
For each student:
Note: This activity can be used before, during, and after reading.
Before reading: Students insert words reflecting prior knowledge
on the moon.
During reading: Students record words and phrases they believe
are important to the moon.
After reading: Students add new words they consider important to
- Distribute materials to each student.
- Have students read All About the Moon. As they are reading, have
them complete the ABC Moon Words worksheet by
writing a meaningful “moon” word in each box. If at all possible,
have students write a word in each box. This activity should only
last five to eight minutes. Some students may not have a word in
each letter box—this is okay.
- Have the students pair up and share some of their answers for
each box. Next, have the entire table share some of their favorite
- The ABC Moon Words worksheet may be used in the
following additional ways:
- As a video guide.
- Final for a book report.
- Picture book as you are reading.
- Mini book.
- Like a mini word wall.
- Individual student dictionary card.
- Draw imaginary faces of the moon and write a paragraph of the
profession of your moon character. See Kids Discover
Magazine—Moon, page 18 “Who’s In the Moon.”
- Expand student knowledge by writing or researching the origin of
- Create a paper plate mural of moon phases from drawings created
in this activity.
- Create a papier-mâché model of each of the phases.
- Assessment for this activity takes place when students use the
graphic organizer to write a sequential paragraph.
- Students may also create their own moon phases flip book, great
examples are in Astronomy Adventures (Ranger Rick’s Nature
Scope) or Discovery Channel School worksheet 1 Lunar Phase
Flip Book (see Additional Resources).
- Create printmaking phases of the moon using Styrofoam plates,
showing positive and negative space.
- Create a mural using paper plates and models that demonstrate
phases of the moon.
Created Date :
Nov 15 2004 13:13 PM