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9 Strategies For Teaching Moon Phases

The moon phases are one of my favorite lessons to teach. I think it is a wonderful challenge to teach students a strategy that would allow them tricks to remembering the phases! I also love all of the activities and games that can enhance the learning of another cycle and pattern in the solar system!

I have Nine Great Strategies for you that will help your students learn the cycles in a fun and engaging way!

Strategy 1: Moon Phase Trick

Here is a trick for remembering the moon phases:

Hold up both thumb nails. Show them that on left hand we will call it waxing, wax on by doing a circle motion, on your right we call that waning and we will do a circle motion wane off.
Now back to the thumb nails, on the left hand (wax on) the nail is on the right side of the thumb nail. This will always be the first hand (1st quarter) and always be waxing crescent or gibbous. 

On the right nail it reminds you that it is a waxing hand, on the left side of the nail is the white crescent or waning crescent or waning gibbous. It helps remind us is it waxing  (left hand) or waning (right hand).

Then you tell them to ask questions, is it full or new? Waxing or Waning? Big or little? Half? Left or right hand.  

Strategy 2: Moon Phase Calendar

Use a moon phase calendar to question students on which day them might see a specific phase. I use this site because the pictures are more defined: Moon Phase Calendar

I ask questions such as, "One one day of the month would you see a waxing gibbous?", or "On which day is there a first quarter moon?" We also look at it to help us see patterns during the months and the 29 day cycle.

Strategy 3: Moon Phase Interactive Notebook

I want my kiddos to match words with the moon phases to understand their vocabulary.
We use a little interactive notebook sheet that helps us place the words underneath the pictures and add it to our notebooks!

Strategy 4: Moon Phase Memory (Freebie)

I love adding a game for my students to play and learning the moon phases lends itself perfectly to memory! So I created two Moon Phase Memory Games that I placed in my Free Resource Library! Just sign up for my newsletter and you will get the secret code that is filled with  great free resources!
              This resource is also found in my Moon Phase Pack in my Store!

Strategy 5: Moon Phase Anchor Chart

I create an anchor chart that will allow my students to review, use as a guide when they play the memory games, when they create the interactive notebook page, when they play the Calendar review game...you get the picture, creating an anchor chart can be very versatile!

 Strategy 6: Moon and Earth Revolution Model

I always like to review the cycles and patterns that we have already learned, and with that to show the big picture I like to create a model for the students to use that gives them a great visual as to how the moon revolves around the Earth and the Earth Revolves around the Sun as we rotate!

This is a perfect activity to review the vocabulary words revolve and rotate! All you need is a pattern of the Earth, moon, and sun in proportion, scissors, glue, and two paper fasteners per student.

Strategy 7: Styrofoam Moon Phase Demonstration or Simulation

I found this great idea from the National Science Teacher's Association on a search I did that demonstrates how to use a Styrofoam ball and a pencil to show how the phases of the moon work using a light and the ball! This is a great addition to the Moon Phase lesson and a perfect visual!

Strategy 8: Moon Phase Digital Games

I love using Google Drive and Digital Science Activities such as The Moon Phases to assess where my students are in their understanding of a given topic. I can use them individually by giving them each a qr code to create their own copy, or I also use them as a whole group activity where I project the game or review cards on the Smartboard! Either way has worked perfectly for a review, test, game, challenge...

Strategy 9: Moon Landing STEM Activity

I love reading the story, One Giant Leap and then show this video!

We finish it up by create a moon landing of our own! I give each team a tray with 6 toilet paper and paper towel tubes (the path) , a marble (the Apollo Space Craft), Tape, and a pattern of the moon and Earth.

They have to make a path on the wall that has three bends, and gets the marble safely from Earth to the moon! They love this challenge. This is one of five challenges in my STEM Space Stations Pack!

Want to find these ideas, sheets, activities, and a few bonus activities all in one place ready for you to just print and go? Check out my moon phase packs by following this link: Moon Phase Science Pack and STEM Connections

I appreciate you to the moon and back!

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