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Keywords: Moon, NASA, STEM, PHASES
Subject(s): Science, Earth Science
Grades 3 through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
View Full Text of Standards
School: Bok Academy, LAKE WALES, FL
Planned By: Lockett
Original Author: David Lockett, Mboro
Essential question/s
What role has NASA played in space exploration.
What role has the Moon played in human history?
Why can we see the Moon? Where does the light from the moon come from?
Why can we see the Moon on some days even in daylight?
What causes the various shapes of light and shadow on the Moon?

Reflection, NASA, orbit, moon phases, lunar cycle, new moon, waning crescent, waning gibbous, waxing crescent,
waxing gibbous, full, quarter moons, eclipse, partial eclipse
Prior Knowledge Connection/Prerequisite Skill(s)
Planets in a solar system orbit a star, moons orbit planets
Planet Earth orbits the Sun, Earth has a single orbiting satellite called the Moon
Other planets in our solar system have moons that orbit them
Basic SI units of measurements

Real Life Application
Why can we see the moon in the daytime on some days?
Can we predict the nightly appearance of the Moon?
Appreciation and understanding of diverse cultural traditions and heritage
Astronomer, Archeo-astronomer, Historian, Oceanographer

Higher Order Thinking Statements/Questions
Interpret the role the Moon has played in human history
Appreciate ancient and modern cultural traditions and heritage
Determine the source of moonlight
Determine what causes the various shapes of light and shadow on the Moon
Create a model to explain lunar phases and eclipses
Predict the movement and appearance of the Moon, nightly, monthly
Compile data and interpret meaning
Create artifacts either written or 3-dimensional (works of art)

(2) 12 inch long dowels or sticks
(1) 8 inch foam ball
(1) 2 inch foam ball
10 foot length of twine or string
Color markers (for decorating foam balls to look like Earth and Moon)
Flashlight – very bright!
Masking tape
Darkened room - try to cover windows with black paper too

Clear the room of any tripping hazards during lights out activities.
Lesson Activities – Days One and Two
Engage/Foundation Activities-Parking Lot
Most of us live in a world filled with light. In a modern city, the elements of the night-time sky cannot be fully seen nor for that matter, appreciated because of the ambient light from our cities and towns. It is important to have students realize that this scenario was not always the case. And not too long ago, humans looked to the skies and saw quite a different picture than what we see today.
Group students into groups of 2-4 persons.
Ask students to travel back in time, long before electricity and lights – go back to the earliest of human history.
Have them imagine a life without city lights/electricity – where colorful skies ignited every night with brilliant stars, meteors, an occasional comet, and of course, the Moon. It is important for you as the teacher to really paint this picture. Guide students to consider what life was like in pre-historical times: a time before modern scientific understanding.
Give each group a different picture of the Moon (in various phases – don’t say the word “phase” yet) and have them explain in ancient terms what they see.
Ask students to explain:
1) What is the object in the sky
2) How and why it moved
3) How and why it changed appearance.


In the library or computer lab, have the pairs or groups research ancient explanations, folklore, myths, superstitions, cultural festivals/holidays concerning the Moon.
Choose one question below for each pair or group (or create your own):
1. How did the ancient _________ explain the changes in the moon’s shape/appearance? (Insert Chinese, Babylonians, Assyrians, Africans, Greeks, Hindu, Native Americans, others.)
2. Did the ___________ have special names for the Moon and the different
shapes/appearances? (Insert Chinese, Babylonians, Africans, Assyrians, Greeks, Hindu, Native
Americans, others.)
3. Were there special festivals or holiday celebrations based on the moon or the
shape/appearance of it?
4. Was there a major event in human history impacted by an eclipse?
5. Why were eclipses associated with bad omens and superstition?
6. Is there any evidence of eclipses in sources of literature? (Holy Bible, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court for examples)


Active group participation/collaboration
Research and reporting of findings –
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
STEM,Reading, ELA
round robin, quizzes, disucssion
Links: Link to NASA
Materials: Whiteboards, CDs and DVDs, Science