Students become familiar with lunar phases by locating and then graphing the Moon phase of their own birthdays. After listening and discussing lunar myths and legends they create their own Birthday Moon Stories.
The learner will:
Activity 1: Cut and paste the eight phases of the Moon.
Activity 2: Use "moon cards" to enable students to become familiar with lunar phase sequences and patterns.
Activity 3: Find out what the Moon looked like on each student's birthday.
Activity 4: Students each draw a picture of their birthday moons on a blank card along with their birth date, year, and name of lunar phase.
Activity 6: Each student compares this year's birthday moon to the previous year's birthday Moon, then predicts what the next year's birthday moon will look like.
Activity 7: Students write a story about their birthday moon.
1. Familiarize students with the four phases and then the eight phases of the Moon. Have students cut out the different phases from the Cut n' Paste Worksheet #1 and paste them on to the Cut n' Paste Worksheet #2.
2. Print out the moon phase calendar for the current month. Cut out each date, and pass one out to each student. Beginning with the full moon (you may have to tell them the date of the full moon), have students work together to sequence these cards according to the appropriate lunar phases.
The following sites can be used to find pictures of the Moon on those dates. The first two sites are recommended.
6. Classification: Tell the students, "Go to the Moon Graph and place your Moon above the one on the graph that looks the most like yours." Once the students have completed their birthday moon pictures, they should classify their picture according to the Phases of the Moon. Once classified, the Moon Graph can be made listing the phases that were studied, with the student pictures pasted in the proper columns. Since most pictures won't come out to look exactly like the example pictures given in the Moon Graph, the students will have to decide which of the categories looks most like their pictures. The graphs should be analyzed by asking the students several questions such as:
Extensions: If time and technology is available, have students look at many birthday moons for different years to make more pattern comparisons and predictions. Start with how the Moon looked on the day they were born. The pictures and graphs created should be compared to show that the Moon will be different on their birthdays every year. Some of the questions above could be asked to allow students to make comparisons.
NOTE: If all of your students were born before January 1, 1990, or you decide not to have the students view the Moon on the day they were born (just the birthdays for this year, last year and/or next year), then it is recommended that you go to the Space Academy page and use the Moon Phase applet. It is several times faster than the other locations and simple to use; after a short demonstration by the teacher, the students will be able to look up the necessary information on their own.
9. Connections to Reading and Language: Read about different Moon myths. This extension combines moon lore and the students' birthdays. Go to the Moon Xscape site and read the Moon lore concerning days after the Full Moon. From the same site, the students can enter in their birth dates and see what the Moon looked like on their birthdays (if they haven't done so already). Each student can determine if his/her birth date was close enough to a Full Moon to have some interesting Moon lore written about it. Now the students can write a story about his/her own birthday moon. Here are some more Moon Myths.
Samples of student Moon Myths.
Suggested Activity: Have a "Birthday Moon Author's Party"