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This Moon Journal was written including a parent letter with information about Indiana fifth grade science standard 5.2.4, but it can be used anywhere with just a little tweaking. Please read the parent letter carefully. I wrote it specific to my classroom, but I have uploaded the Microsoft Word file so that it can be quickly changed to meet your needs.
Every year I do a four week moon journal where each night the students record the time they searched, what direction the moon is located in the sky, draw what the moon looks like, and then get a parent to initial. Because this takes a long time to complete, I have the students start the journal several weeks before we dive into our moon study in the classroom. By this time we get started in class, they are so excited to learn the facts behind what they have already observed.
During our classroom study, we refer back to the moon journal many times. We learn what causes the different shapes of the moon, and then later we label the different phases (waxing, waning, crescent, gibbous, full, etc.). Even months later, the students will excitedly come into the room to tell me that they noticed that the moon was a waxing gibbous or a new moon.
I have also included a before and after Thinking Map (Circle Map) template so the students can activate their prior knowledge before learning, and then review the concepts that they have learned after the journal and study is complete.