Topic 8: Solar System–Phases of the Moon

This activity uses a flashlight and a foam ball. We will illuminate the foam ball (or moon) with the flashlight (sun) from different directions to show how the phases of the moon occur due to the relationship with it and the sun. I can see students having trouble with knowing what phase is what, since it wont look exactly how it does in the sky.

Phases of the moon, when referring to waning, waxing, new, full, and quarters are as follows. Waxing refers to moving toward the full moon, or increasing in brightness so the left side of the moon is dark. Waning means moving toward a new moon, or decreasing in brightness; the right side of the moon is always dark. With a new moon, the moon is all dark because the lit-up half is facing away from earth. A quarter moon occurs a week after the new moon and we can see half of the half that shows–so ΒΌ of the moon. A full moon occurs two weeks after the new moon, we can see the entire lit-up half of the moon at this stage. The last quarter (or third) moon is seen three weeks after the new moon and we are able to see half of the lit-up part again.

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