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Name: Jillian Goltz

Title: Drawing Phases of the Moon

Time: 45 minutes
Grade: 4th Grade
* (Rotate/Revolve Model)
* (Moon Phase Activity)
* (Moon Phases
1. Students will be able to define and demonstrate what a revolution and a
rotation are.
2. Students will be able to identify, name, and order the lunar phases.
3. Students will document the lunar phases over the course of a lunar month.
Earth and Space Sciences
3.3.4.B: Origin and Evolution of the Universe PATTERNS/PHASES: Identify
major lunar phases (Obj. 2)
1.5.4: Quality of Writing Use grade appropriate conventions of language
when writing and editing (Obj. 3)
Anchor/Eligible Content
S4.D.3.1.1: Describe motions of the Sun Earth Moon system (Obj. 1)
Pipe cleaner
Wiffle ball
White ball or balloon half colored black, the other half staying white
Black construction paper
White crayons
Lunar Phase Journals
Dictionaries (physical or digital)
Pipe cleaners can be sharp at the ends, so they should be checked
beforehand so students do not get hurt

1. Ask the children if they know what it means for something to rotate and
something to revolve. Gather answers and respond appropriately.
2. Present to the children a visual representation of what a revolution and
rotation is by using a pipe cleaner threaded through a wiffle ball. Spinning
the ball in place is a rotation. Moving the ball around the length of the pipe
cleaner is a revolution. Have the students try this by passing the
manipulative around.
3. Explain that the planets and their moons do both motions at once. To
relate to the lesson about to be presented, talk about Earths moon and how
we see different phases of it. This is because the moon revolves about the
Earth and rotates, even though we cannot tell. We see moon phases
because of the angle the sun is hitting the moon surface and where the
moon is in its revolution around the Earth. One revolution of the moon
around the Earth is a lunar month, which is roughly 29 days. This
information should be shared with the class.
1. Have the students sit around a ball. The ball should be half white and the
other half black. Call the ball the moon. The part that is white represents
the light hitting the moon from the sun. The part that is black is the part of
the moon that the sun does not reach. Explain this to the students.
2. Explain that the moon goes through phases during the month and that
there are names for them that we will learn soon.
3. Give each student a piece of black construction paper and a white crayon.
Ask the children to draw exactly what they see in front of them on the
moon. The white crayon will be used to represent the white portion of the
moon. Anything that is not white will stay black.
4. After this is done, distribute a handout of the moon phases and their
names (attached). First, have students define waning, waxing, and
gibbous, as these words may be unfamiliar to them. Next, have each
student identify what phase of the moon his or her drawing most closely
resembles and write it on his or her moon phase drawing paper.
Explain/Elaborate (Closure)
1. As a group, the class will tape their moon phases on a board or wall in
order. Collaboration will need to be used as well as communication between
the students. In order to make this work, students may reference their moon
phase handout for the phase names but will need to communicate with each
other in order to get the correct order.
2. When this is done, the class will sit together and the teacher will review
the order that they put their phases in, in order to check it, as well as to
reinforce the idea of moon phases.
Instead of using the ball as the moon, it would be even better to use the
moon! Students will keep their own lunar phase journal for the duration of a

lunar month. They will draw the moon that they see at night and the time
they saw it. They will describe what they see and name what moon phase it
most closely resembles. This information should be written in complete
sentences. If it is cloudy out, the student should note this, as it will be
difficult to tell what the moon phase is. However, the student should
speculate as to what he or she thinks the moon will look like and what the
phase may be since the moon is not gone. This reinforces what was learned
and also practices predicting, a scientific process skill.
The teacher will listen to responses on what the meaning of revolution and
rotation are. The teacher will monitor children as they do their moon phase
drawings and name the phase they drew.
The class working together to order their moon phases from beginning to end
will be evaluated. The worksheet will also be handed in. After the moon
phase journal is complete, this will serve as a source of summative
assessment, too.
An ELL student can be familiarized by making use of his/her native language
word for moon and labeling the phases in that language on his/her
worksheet rather than in English. However, it should not be difficult for an
ELL student to follow what is happening in the lesson, as it is very visual.
Reflection on Planning
Originally, I wanted to do something related to biology, but the standards
were not ones that I could think of any ideas for. Instead, I browsed other
standards and completely forgot that space would be a topic of interest. I
think the topic is neat, so I researched ideas after I decided to use the lunar
phases. I loved the ball idea for being the moon. It is so simple yet can be
so effective and visual for children. Also during my research, I saw the wiffle
ball activity and thought it was really clever and wanted to include it.
Fortunately, it was not difficult to relate the wiffle ball activity to the phases
of the moon.