for Moonquest! (K-8)
The Moonquest activities presented here are designed to enhance the teaching about the Moon, using a wealth of real-time data found on the Internet. How these investigations are used in your classroom is entirely up to you as the teacher. They can be used in their entirety as a unit, or perhaps lessons of special interest may be chosen to help enhance certain concepts about the Moon.
There are two suggested ways in which the class can be broken up to complete this Quest. In one method, the students can all work together on each role, and then move on to the next role. For example, the students as a class can tackle the Moon myths as Historians, (with 2-3 students assigned to each myth); then, they can move on to the job of Fact Finders, Graphic Designers, etc. The other method would divide the students into groups, with each group completing a role then switching with another group until all of the students have played each role at least once. This means that (after choosing 1-2 myths to focus on) the class will be divided into 5 groups, with each group given a role. Each group will complete their assignments concerning those myths. Then, the groups will switch roles, choose 1-2 other myths, and continue. Or, a combination of the two methods can be used, depending upon your classroom situation.
Since these lessons are designed for Kindergarten through grade 4, (a widely varied educational area), some modifications will likely be necessary for use in your classroom. If you have any suggestions on how to improve these lessons, to help them make better use of the Internet, know of other interesting Moon web sites, or any comments, please e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The students who play the role of the Historians are responsible for discovering where the Moon myths began. They can begin their research at the moon myths site on the resources page, which contains several links to relevant sites. They can also research the school and/or local libraries, or do a Web search using one of the search engines available on the Web, like Yahoo or Google. The information they found should be written up in a manner that is easy for the rest of the groups to understand. They are to attempt to find out when the myth began, what culture(s) believed in and/or propagated these myths, and how those myths may be viewed today. This is a fairly big assignment, and it may not be possible for the students to completely answer those questions. However, it should be possible for the Historians to partially answer those questions given the resources available to them.
The Fact Finders have a very important job: to find out the truth. They are to take the myths they are assigned, and find the facts that disprove them. For example, if this group was working with the first myth (The Moon is made of cheese), they are to use NASA and other resources to discover what the Moon is really made of. If working with the last myth (The Moon is pulled across the sky by a person, animal, or mystical force), they are to first prove that the Moon is not pulled across the sky; rather, it orbits the Earth. Then, they would find out how and why the Moon orbits the Earth the way it does. To find this information, they can use the sites found on the resources page, research the local libraries, or do a Web search. The information they found should be written up in a manner that is easy for the rest of the groups to understand.
Graphic Designers will take the information discovered by the Historians
and the Fact Finders, and make a presentation. This presentation
can be presented using a variety of media. It can be a poster presentation,
a slide show, a brochure, a book, or a multimedia presentation involving
the use of videotape, photographs and other pictures, or even the computer.
Students should be encouraged to use their imaginations do design the
The Journalists/Reporters' task is to give the presentation designed by the Graphic Designers to the class (or to other classes, depending upon what you wish to do). They should work with the Graphic Designers when the presentation is created, so they know what they have to say and show to the class. This group will need to understand how to use each aspect of the presentation, whether it involves pictures, a VCR, a slide projector, a computer, etc. You may want to get together with the Journalist/Reporters separately to allow them to practice their presentations on you. This will give them confidence in their presentations, make them a little less nervous, and give you a chance to fix any possible errors that may be in the presentations.
Using WWW sources and/or books, read to the students (or have them read) about some of the past, present or future NASA missions to the Moon. In addition to some of the sites linked in the above activity and the resource page, the NASA Moon page is an excellent source of information. They can complete one or both of the following activities: