Moon Phases Oreo Lab NGSS MS-ESS1-1: Google Ready Modeling

Grade Levels
4th - 10th
Formats Included
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21 pages
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Students love this lab!!! I have the students bring in the Oreos and spoons/knives to class. Or you can spend about $25 on Oreos, which for my class size is 8 cookies per group, with 8 groups per class. Students model what they think the pattern of moon phases are for one month without any prior knowledge. For the NGSS Science and Engineering Practice “Developing and Using Models”, it’s important that you don’t scaffold or front-load the information. You want them to use their prior knowledge when creating their first model. Students then arrange 8 cookies, each one’s frosting being scraped to represent all 8 phases (New Moon, Waxing Crescent, 1st Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, 3rd Quarter, Waning Crescent). Once their arrangement accurately shows every phase, students then revise their model by drawing what their cookies look like. Revising models is the great metacognitive aspect of modeling in NGSS. They also need to label each phase using the book, however Google Images has countless moon phase diagrams if you don’t have a book. There are eight questions the students then answer.

This resource is now Distance Learning optional! You get a link to make a virtual copy for Google Classroom!

You get the following:

-Student copy of the lab

-Detailed teacher notes

-Answer key

-A Google link for Distance Learning

-Google Classroom Tutorials

The following concepts are included:

-Process that causes the moon to appear as different phases

-Lunar Eclipse

-New Moon, Waxing Crescent, 1st Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, 3rd Quarter, Waning Crescent

-The moon and gravity

-The moon’s atmosphere

-The length of one lunar cycle

NGSS Standards:

Disciplinary Core Idea-ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System

The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, cause observable patterns. These include day and night and different positions of the earth, sun and moon, at different times of the day, month, and year. (5-ESS1-2)

Cross Cutting Concepts-Patterns

Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort, classify, communicate and analyze simple rates of change for natural phenomena. (5-ESS1-2)

Science & Engineering Practices 2: Developing and Using Models

Modeling can begin in the earliest grades, with students' models progressing from concrete "pictures" and/or physical scale models (e.g., a toy car) to more abstract representations of relevant relationships in later grades, such as a diagram representing forces on a particular object in a system.


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Total Pages
21 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
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, and seasons. Examples of models can be physical, graphical, or conceptual.
Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system. Emphasis for the model is on gravity as the force that holds together the solar system and Milky Way galaxy and controls orbital motions within them. Examples of models can be physical (such as the analogy of distance along a football field or computer visualizations of elliptical orbits) or conceptual (such as mathematical proportions relative to the size of familiar objects such as students’ school or state). Assessment does not include Kepler’s Laws of orbital motion or the apparent retrograde motion of the planets as viewed from Earth.


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