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Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
Because the moon rotates once on its axis every time it travels around Earth, we see only one side. The far side was not seen until the 1960's, when spacecraft were sent to orbit the moon and pictures were taken. One half of the moon is always fully illuminated and one half is always in shadow. The amount of illumination or shadowed areas we see depends on the position of Earth, the moon, and the sun.
The surface of the moon has mountains, valleys, craters, and plains. The moon has no atmosphere, but it does have traces of ice, possibly from an object that hit the moon.
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.
The moon rotates on its axis only once during it revolution around Earth.
The moon reflects sunlight. We see only the lighted part of the moon that faces Earth.
The moon appears to change shape because the sun lights the same side of the moon as it rotates and revolves around Earth, but varying portions of the lighted side face Earth at different times. The phases of the moon include the new moon, crescent moon, half moon, and full moon.
Science Language Students Should Use
Intended Learning Outcomes:
Invitation to Learn
Read Footprints on the Moon or any other book about lunar modules. Discuss with the students how the lunar module Eagle was used to take astronauts to the moon’s surface. Tell the students the lunar modules were used to carry astronauts from the command module to the surface of the moon. Then invite them to draw geometric lunar modules according to the directions below (review the italicized words). Give each student a ruler and a sheet of drawing paper. Instruct students to draw their modules as you read each step one at a time. Have students add details that show their modules being used for lunar exploration. Then, have them color their out-of-this-world scenes.
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