This activity is a lab simulation which explores how moon phases occur. Students use a white ball to represent the Moon and a lamp to represent the sun. Holding the ball and turning to simulate the Moon’s orbit, students watch how the lit portion of the ball changes depending on its relative position. Designed for students and optimized for teachers, this lab will engage and fascinate students. Scaffolded writing prompts allow students of different abilities to engage with the same content. Why can’t Earth’s shadow explain Moon phases? How does the geometry of the sun, Earth, and Moon cause lunar phases? During what phase can an eclipse occur? Watch your students become scientists as they dig into these intriguing questions.
By starting with the scientific phenomena, you'll be intrigued and excited to dig deeper into the why’s and how’s of each scientific concept. Beautifully illustrated and well laid out, these lab activities are easy to use from the very first page. Experiments are clearly organized and written to the student so they do not need to be pre-digested by a teacher before beginning. Helpful tips throughout the experiments and the Teacher Notes leave the reader in no doubt about how to perform or understand an experiment.
Both the teacher and the student are addressed so no additional books are needed. Engaging Science Labs are useful for classroom or homeschool environments.
• Moon phases depend on the geometry between the sun, Earth, and the Moon.
• Solar eclipses can only occur during the new moon phase.
• Lunar eclipse can only occur during the full moon phase.
• Moon phases occur in regular, repeating, logical patterns.
white ball on stick, clear bulb, lamp
Extensive teacher notes address the many questions that come up. You shouldn’t have to do outside research on this topic unless you want to.
The lab activity will take at least 30 minutes
• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting
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Space Science & Astronomy Resources
Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon.
Virginia VA SOL
ES.3 The student will investigate and understand the characteristics of Earth and the solar system. Key concepts include
b) sun-Earth-moon relationships; (eclipses);
Texas TEKS Grade 6
(11) Earth and space. The student understands the organization of our solar system and the relationships among the various bodies that comprise it.
(7) Earth and space. The student knows the effects resulting from cyclical movements of the Sun, Earth, and Moon. The student is expected to: (B) demonstrate and predict the sequence of events in the lunar cycle; and
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