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Phases of the Moon





By- Joseph Moskal



Students will be able to show their understanding of the phases of the moon.



  • One pre-made paper plate with moon phases attached
  • 8 Oreo cookies, split per student
  • One plastic spoon per student


PA State Standards Addressed


  • Distinguish between scientific fact and opinion.
  • Ask questions about objects, organisms, and events.
  • Understand that all scientific investigations involve asking and answering questions and comparing the answer with what is already known.
  • Plan and conduct a simple investigation and understand that different questions require different kinds of investigations.
  • Use simple equipment (tools and other technologies) to gather data and understand that this allows scientists to collect more information than relying only on their senses to gather information.
  • Use data/evidence to construct explanations and understand that scientists develop explanations based on their evidence and compare them with their current scientific knowledge.
  • Communicate procedures and explanations giving priority to evidence and understanding that scientists make their results public, describe their investigations so they can be reproduced, and review and ask questions about the work of other scientists.



Activities and Procedure:

Each student will be given 8 split Oreo cookies and one plate with the phases of the moon on the bottom of the plate. The student will use their spoon to move the cream off the cookie to model the correct phase of the moon. After completing eight correct moon phases with their cookies, the student will label each phase of the moon with the correct name strip (new moon, full moon, waxing crescent, waning crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, waning gibbous). Once the student has correctly labeled the ‘moons’, they may eat the cookies and take the plate home, where it can be used to track the moon from their own neighborhood.



The teacher will review the correct phases of the moon in the correct order before allowing the students to eat their moon phases. The teacher will also show each student that their moon phase plate can be hung in a window so students may follow the phases of the moon from their own window.



The teacher will continually walk around and assist students with the activity. The teacher will be checking for understanding and making sure that each student is on track with their moon phases during the activity. The teacher will informally assess each student as she walks around and a formative assessment will be noted upon the completion of the activity. Students will be given a check plus for completing the activity to the best of their ability, a check for work that is complete, but not to the best of their ability, and a check minus for work that is below their working ability.



Each student is responsible for modeling the phases of the moon using cookie cream. The phases should closely resemble the phases of the moon, as noted on the bottom of the moon phase’s plate.


Below Level:

The teacher will make rounds during the activity to assist all students. Below level learners will be completing an activity that is modeling and using direct, applicable manipulative. The teacher will also offer assistance in placing the moon phase names with struggling learners.


Above Level:

Above level learners will be challenged with the placement of the earth. Above level learners will need to place their Sun in the correct location without teacher assistance. Above level learners will also be challenged with the placement of the moon phase names under their cookie cream moon phases.


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