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Students will create a model of the moon and use a flashlight to illustrate the various phases of the moon.
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
model small copy of something
orbit the path followed by a heavenly body going around another
sphere a space figure that has the shape of a round ball. A three-dimensional figure that has the shape of a ball.
moon heavenly body that revolves around the Earth
axis a real or imaginary straight line about which something turns
rotation to turn around a center point or axis (spinning)
revolution to move in an orbit while rotating to move around an object while rotating (spinning)
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Invitation to Learn
Pass out Word Cards and Picture Cards to pairs of students. Have students match Word Cards to Picture Cards.
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.
Check out Moon Box to and share with family.
Flip book to share with family.
Oreo chart showing moon phases.