Activities for Teaching the Moon Phases

This week we started learning about the Moon, and it's 8 phases!

Here are the 8 phases, in order:

New moon (no moon) > Waxing Crescent > First Quarter > Waxing Gibbous > Full moon > Waning Gibbous > Last (or 3rd) Quarter> and finally >Waning Crescent.

Teaching this can be a tad tricky for some, as it is hard to decipher the phase when looking at black and white diagrams. One thing that helped us is to realize that the moon is actually the lit or white part depicted in the pictures.

When the white part is getting bigger, the moon is Waxing.

When the white part is getting smaller, the moon is Waning.

(When the white is on the right, it is waxing

When the white is on the left it is waning)

You can also say,

When the black part is getting smaller, the moon is Waxing.

When the black part is getting bigger, the moon is Waning.

(When the black is on the left it is waxing

When the black is on the right it is waning)

Whichever way is easiest for your children to grasp works! (Typically noting the visible lit (white) part is the easiest.)

(See below for these free printables!)

Beautiful Moon Phase flashcards, you can get them here!

A great website to use to look up current moon phase is www.phasesmoon.com

The two DIY books pictured above are included with this free printable, you can download it here or by clicking the image below:

Ms. Jones' Junction has created a nice anchor chart that shows how the sun's relation to the earth is responsible for each moon phase:

If you want to start a log for the month, here is a great free printable!

Moon phase wooden banner decoration, you can get it here!

Children's books about the moon:

Moon, by Britta Teckentrup

"Over deserts and forests, Arctic tundra and tropical beaches, the moon shines down on creatures around the world. Children will love discovering how it changes from day to day as the lunar cycle is shown through clever peek-through holes, each revealing the moon in a different size and shape."

I am the Moon

"I Am the Moon introduces kids to the basic concepts of Earth and Space science while also teaching how the Moon plays an important part in the cycle of life on Earth, all the way from the Moon's impact on marine life to its interaction with nature and the environment.Young children will learn about basic concepts of astronomy, explaining how the Moon moves in space with Earth, to the many other moons in our solar system that act as satellites to the other planets. I Am the Moon also takes preschool and kindergarten level children on an imaginary visit to the Moon, describing what an astronaut uses to land and explore the Moon's surface. Images are big and bright for kids ages 3-5."

The Moon Book

"Facts about the moon, including eclipses and its different phases."

Moon! Earth's Best Friend

"Meet Moon! She's more than just a rock―she’s Earth’s rock, her best friend she can always count on. Moon never turns her back on her friend (literally: she's always facing Earth with the same side!). These two will stick together forever. With characteristic humor and charm, Stacy McAnulty channels the voice of Moon in this next celestial "autobiography" in the Our Universe series. Rich with kid-friendly facts and beautifully brought to life by Stevie Lewis, this is an equally charming and irresistible companion to Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years and Sun! One in a Billion."

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