The Moon has always appeared in the sky and invokes different thoughts and feelings for everyone. The following are some examples:
Full moons cause the werewolves to come out
The Moon is made of green cheese
The man in
the Moon looks like
A romantic evening is not complete without a full Moon
The Moon always asks more questions than it answers. For example:
Where does the Moon go when does not shine at night?
What causes an eclipse?
How are the Moon and the oceans’ tides related?
What is the significance of the phases of the Moon?
With this activity we will find out the answers to these questions and many others. We will observe the Moon over the span of a month and analyze our results to come up with a model of how the Moon orbits around the Earth. Once we have this model we will be able to explain the answers to the questions above (except the greeen cheese one).
Observing the phases of the moon.
3. Moonrise and Moonset chart for observation location
4. Observation log
Caution should be used when observing the Moon during the daytime that students do not look into the sun.
Click on the image below to take you to the detailed description of the activity. Activity 6-3 and 6-4 are the ones we will be doing. Please read the introduction for more background information.
1) Theme – Earth and Space Science
2) Content Standards
Explain relationships among the Earth, sun, moon, and the solar system.
3) Grade Level benchmarks – Benchmark 3 (Grade 8)
Explain the relationship of the Earth’s motion to the day, season, year, phases of the moon, and eclipses.
With this activity, students will make observations of the moon over the course of one month’s time. Observations are to be taken both in the daytime and the nighttime. This activity is a good one for students to develop an understanding of how the orbit of the moon relative to the Earth causes the different phases of the moon. It will also help to gain an understanding of both lunar and solar eclipses.
Once students have an understanding of the motion of the Moon, they can build a tabletop model that has an Earth, Moon, and Sun. The Earth would be in the middle, the Moon could be on a lazy susan that orbit around the Earth, and a flashlight could be the Sun. By moving the Moon around the Earth, students could observe the “phases” of the Moon.
http://www.astrosociety.org/education/publications/tnl/12/images/phases.gif - an image that shows the different phases of the moon during its orbit
The Moon is typically taken for granted and most people do not pay attention to it other than to notice full moons. Having students perform this activity will allow them to develop an awareness of the Moon and its phases so whenever they look at the Moon they will have an awareness of its phase and where it is going. The activity will also introduce students to the concept of orbits, orbital planes, and the motion of planets. The observation and measurement techniques can also be used later for finding planets and stars in the sky. This activity should provide students with background that will exceed the benchmark referenced above.
When does a full Moon occur?
What is a new Moon?
How often does a full Moon occur?
How often does a new Moon occur?
What is the period of the orbit of the Moon around the Earth?
Is the phase
of the Moon the same or different in the southern hemisphere? In the
What causes an eclipse?
What causes a solar eclipse?
Where does the Moon go when it is not shining at night?
Declination – Angle from the horizon to an object in the sky
Earthshine – Reflected sunlight from the Earth
Eclipse – A condition where the Moon is in the shadow of the Earth.
Ecliptic plane – Plane of the Earth’s orbit
Full moon – Phase of the moon where the entire face is illuminated with sunlight
New moon – Phase of the moon where the face is illuminated only with earthshine
Orbit inclination – The angle between the ecliptic plane of the Earh and the plane of the Moon’s orbit
Phases of the Moon – A way to describe the different ways that the Moon appears in terms of how much of the face of the Moon is illuminated
Right ascension – The compass bearing of an object in the sky
Sidereal motion – The extra rotation needed for an orbiting object to return to the same location.