Phases of the Moon
From Starting Point
This exercise has students use a simple physical model of the Earth, sun, and moon to understand why the moon changes phases from the perspective of Earthly observers. Students hold up balls representing the moon in a room with a single light source (representing the sun). As they turn relative to the sun, holding the "moon" out in front of them, they will see changes in how much of the side that they can see is lit. At the same time, they can check and see that overall, half of the "moon" is lit no matter what position it is in relative to them. On this Starting Point page, users can access information about the exercise's learning goals, context for use, teaching notes and tips, teaching materials, assessment ideas, references and topics covered.
Intended for grade levels:
Type of resource:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
We encourage the reuse and dissemination of the material on this site for educational, noncommercial purposes as long as attribution is retained. To this end the material on this site is offered under a Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0. Authors of original works submitted to SERC retain their copyright. But in volunteering the works they agree to offer it under this license allowing for reuse and redistribution with attribution. Authors are responsible for obtaining copyright permission for all materials that they distribute within their work.
DLESE Catalog ID: SERC-STARTINGPOINT-000-000-000-527
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Rebecca Teed