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Moon Phases

The Apollo Lunar missions were an important part of man's exploration of space. In the future the Moon may be a very important base for exploration into deep space. The lessons included in the "curriculum" section are intended to help students explore the Lunar Module, Apollo Missions, and the Moon.

Moon Phases

Objectives -Overview

To acquaint students with different phases of the Moon.


1. Moon Phases
Have students use small dessert-size paper plates or construction paper to illustrate the various phases of the moon There are four main phases: new moon, first quarter, full moon, and last quarter. These phases are a result of the amount of reflected sunlight. (The moon gives off no light of its own.) Use at least 8 plates to show the progression of phases the moon would go through in one cycle. See the U.S. Naval Observatory site for a listing of the phases which includes a small picture of each and when they occur in any given month or year.

2. Make a Moon Phase Box
Use simple materials and follow the direction sheet included here to create a simple Moon phase viewer with students.

3. The Moon on your birthday
Have students use one of the on-line sites to find out what the Moon will look like on their birthday or what it looked like on the day they were born. Create a bulletin board display with each student's Moon phase. Have them determine which phase is represented the most.

Real-time Phases of the Moon
This site is updated every 60 seconds at the Lunar Outreach. Site provides an illustration of the all moon phases. In addition the age of the moon in days and seconds is listed. The site also lets you view phases of the Moon from the past, present and future from the year 1923-2084. Students can see what the Moon phase was on the day they were born or what it will be like on their next birthday.

Inconstant Moon: multimedia tours of the lunar surface
See a different view for every night of the month. You can select the month and the day to view. The phase of the Moon for each day is shown along with close-ups of what might be visible through a telescope and information about the features shown. Many interesting areas to explore and lots of links and information. Site includes "moon music" to listen to while you explore.

Moon Phase Trek Lesson plan from the Ask Eric site about how the positions of the sun, the moon, and Earth affect the phases of the moon. Also, how light from the sun reflects off the moon.

Moon Phases Virtual Reality Moon Phase Pictures will help you show students the Moon in its current phase or for the specific date (1800-2199 A.D.) you select in any time zone. A GIF animation on the page helps demonstrate the changes in appearance as the Moon goes through its cycle.