Lesson Plan

Why does the Moon Change?

Students will be learning the science behind the different phases of the moon.
Megan M.
Classroom teacher
St. Louis University High School
St. Louis, United States
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My Grades 9, 12
My Subjects Science

Students often learn the different phases of the moon through-out grade school.  However, many students still struggle with the concept of why there are different moon phases.  This unit will focus on helping students throughly understand the Science behind why the moon changes.  At the end of the unit, students will be able to accurately explain and depict why there are moon phases. 

Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Creating — Students will be drawing their specific phase of the Moon using the Moon Calendar App

The Moon Calendar App will first be pulled up on the projected screen in the front of the classroom.  As a class, students will go through a month and notice any changes to the moon.  Students will also try to recall as much information about the names of the phases.  Students will then move to their iPads and explore the Moon Calendar App. 

After exploring the Moon Calendar App, students will each be given a specific day.  They will be responsible for drawing their phase of the moon on a large poster, as well as, labeling which phase the moon is in on that specific day.  After students are done with their poster, they will hang the phases of the moon around the room (in correct order). 

Students will then fill out a worksheet to hypothesize as to why their are different phases of the moon. 

2 Direct Instruction

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Students will discuss their reasoning for the different moon phases.  Students will then watch a couple of preselected sections of the video:  A Private Universe.  Studenst will then discuss the different misconceptions of the moon. 

Students will then go through their book and PowerPoint, which explains the Science behind the different phases of the Moon. 

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Investigating

Students will go through a guided Online Lab.  This lab is found through the Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project (NAAP) and is the Lunar Phase Simulator.  The students will be working through a lab guide and answering questions that pertain to this particular simulator.  The lab can be found here:  http://astro.unl.edu/naap/lps/lps.html.  

4 Independent Practice

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Students will go through Quizlet questions.  They will also take the practice tests/quizzes and play the games found on their quizlet page.  After asking questions and obtaining a mastery of the subject, students will take a test to assess their understanding on the phases of the moon.

5 Wrap-Up


Students will explore other misconceptions of the moon using the NASA App.  An example of one misconception is that there is a "dark side" of the moon.