Moon Phase Log

I just sent an email out to the parents about this but thought I’d post it here too!

MOON PHASE LOG

Tonight the 4th graders start their Moon Phase log. It should only take a few minutes to do each day… And the goal is to do it each day, including weekends—to really try to find the Moon in the sky and observe its shape/phase. This can be such a powerful/memorable activity if students are able to follow through… Any support that you can give will be much appreciated.

Most of us actually did our first observation in class—we had to lean quite a bit to spot the Moon out our windows. I’m attaching the directions to this email. The directions include a Moonrise/Moonset chart so that students can plan when to do their observations. We looked carefully at the chart and pinpointed those days that might be somewhat problematic because of sleep:

March 9: The Moon will rise at 8:05pm and set at 6:47am.
March 10: The Moon will rise at 9:18pm and set at 7:23am.
Starting on March 11th, students should do their Moon observations in the morning before school, rather than after.

The toughest part about understanding the phases of the Moon is realizing that half of the Moon is always lit up (the half that is pointed towards the Sun)… When there’s a new Moon the half that is lit is pointed away from us. When there’s a full Moon we can see the whole illuminated side… All the other phases result because we’re only seeing part of the lit up half from our perspective on Earth. That’s what the Moon’s Orbit diagram (“How the Moon Works”) is all about. I’ve already plugged in 2/28 and 2/29 so that the students can see how to mark the orbit diagram… It’s just an approximate placement and now that I study it closer, I’m realizing that I’ve probably got the 28th way too close to the 29th—so the students and I will learn how best to place the dates on the Moon’s together 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

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