Earth's Moon - Help Me, I Think I'm Changing!

When you look at the sky, you often see the moon. Over several weeks, the moon's appearance changes. Below is an image of the sun and earth. Based on this image, is it day or night in North America. (Click the answer you think is correct.)

Remember the side of Earth facing the sun is experiencing day. The side facing away from the Sun experiences night. Drag your mouse over any moon phase below to see the moon's position in relation to Earth and to the sun on the image above.

What provides light to the moon? The Earth or the sun? It takes the moon about 28 days to revolve once around the Earth. During the first phase of the moon, it is on the side of Earth experiencing daylight. You cannot see the moon during this phase from Earth.

Now visit BrainPop and view the video about the moon!

As you look up at the walls at Zion National Park, you see the moon in the sky above. What happened? Last week, it seemed like more of the moon was visible! You borrow binoculars to try and see if you can see the "hidden" edge at the side of the moon.

Now is your chance to keep track of the differences in how the moon looks. Are you ready for this fun assignment! For the next 28 days, draw what the moon looks like. You may need to get your parents' permission if the moon is not visible before you have to go to bed!


  • pen or pencil
  • paper
  • chart

Use the chart to track the visible changes in how the moon looks. Shade in each circle showing how much of the moon is hidden. Remember to write the date and time of your observations. Also get your parents to initial that they let you do the observations.

Example - a completely shaded circle means that you cannot see any of the moon.

Example - a circle with no shading means you can see the entire moon!

Try IT!
Still need more practice? This is a fun activity you can do!

You will need a package of chocolate sandwich cookies, a spoon, and a calendar.  Separate the cookies and use the white frosting to represent the illuminated portion of the moon that we see during each phase.  The chocolate cookie represents the part of the moon that is not illuminated.  Once you have made a cookie representing the four main phases (new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter), turn to the current month in your calendar.  Using the calendar or the Internet, or your teacher as a resource, place the new moon cookie on the appropriate day.  Then, predict when each of the other phases will appear in the night sky.  Place them on the calendar. Then eat your moon phases!

utah state board of education This Sci-ber Text was developed by the Utah State Board of Education and Utah educators.