UEN Security Office
Technical Services Support Center (TSSC)
Eccles Broadcast Center
101 Wasatch Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
(801) 585-6105 (fax)
1 class periods of 45 minutes each
Using a softball and a light source, students model and observe the reason for and pattern of the phases of the moon.
The phases of the moon are caused by the relative position of the Earth, sun, and moon. Most students (and adults) believe that the phases of the moon are caused by the shadow of the Earth on the moon or by the shadows cast on its surface by other objects in the solar system. The real cause of the phases of the moon is its position with respect to the Earth and sun.
What we see of the moon is the light reflected from it. Half of the moon's surface is always in sunlight. We see the moon going through phases because we see varying portions of the sunlit side as the moon revolves around the Earth.
Phases of the Moon Chart:
Assess student science journals using the Science Writing Rubric found below to assess their understanding of the phases of the moon.
Check for misconceptions in understanding why the phases occur.
Check for misconceptions in the relative positions of the Earth, moon, and sun.