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Students chart the phases of the moon in this lesson plan

Subject:

Science  

Grade:

7  


Title – Charting Moon Phases
By – Christy McKinzie
Primary Subject – Science
Grade Level – 7th

Why can’t you always see a full moon? The sun shines on the moon, just as it shines on the earth. At any given time, half of the moon is in daylight, and it’s night on the other half. As the moon rotates around the earth, we see only portions of its daylight half. So each night (or day) of the month, we see a slightly different phase of the moon.

You can have a great experience keeping track of the phases of the moon.

Hypothesis: How do you think the moon phases will change over 29 nights?

Materials:

  • Chart
  • Pencil

Procedures:

  1. Begin charting the moon at the beginning of the phase (new moon).
  2. Go out every night at the same time to see how the moon has changed.
  3. Draw a picture each night. Most nights you will be able to see at least a small change in the phase of the moon.
  4. Make sure the moon is drawn at the angle the moon appears in the sky. (How high up the moon appears in the sky)
  5. Keep notes for 29 nights so that you can see the entire cycle of the moon. You will most likely miss a few nights due to clouds. On these nights, you can draw a picture of the phase you think the moon has reached. Keep notes on how clouds, rain, and snow change the look of the moon, or make it disappear altogether.

Observations:

  • New Moon — when the moon is invisible
  • Waxing Crescent — the first thin sliver of moon
  • First quarter — a half moon
  • Waxing gibbous — a ¾’s moon
  • Full moon
  • Waning gibbous — back to ¾’s
  • Last quarter — back to half moon
  • Waning crescent — the last thin sliver before the next new moon

* Note from LessonPlansPage.com – please contact the author of this lesson plan if you need the graphics that accompany the above definitions.

Name: ______________________________
Date: _________________ Mod: _________
Subject: _____________________________

 

DAY OBSERVATIONS    SKETCH               
1 Should be a new moon  
2    
3    
4    
5    
6    
7    
8    
9    
10    
11    
12    
13    
14    
15    
16    
17    
18    
19    
20    
21    
22    
23    
24    
25    
26    
27    
28    
29    

Results:

Explain what you noticed about the phases of the moon from days 1 through 15.

Explain what you noticed about the phases of the moon from days 16 through 30.

Analysis:

1.   Was your prediction correct? Support your answer with data from the chart and your experiment.

2.   Study your completed chart. How would you define the ecliptic?

3.   Using information from the activity, how would you explain the waning gibbous to a friend?

Sorry my charts and graphics did not copy, but I can send you a copy with them if you would like. .

E-Mail Christy McKinzie !

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