Explaining phases of moon may become a tough issue for teachers of elementary classes. Mostly because phase of the Moon is not that easy concept and has plenty of details to clarify to kids. We will review the lesson plan from our perspective, because good Moon phase lesson should be informative, understandable, and still interesting for kids.
Usually, the first thing to mention about the way Moon works is the phases. The cycle consists of 4 phases. The first phase is called New Moon, when the Moon is not visible from Earth. The second phase is called First Quarter, when the Moon half-seen in the night sky. The third one is called Third Quarter and also we can see the other half of the Moon. The fourth phase is the most visible and is called the Full Moon.
In order for kids to understand this material better, use different visuals and additional materials to visualize the phases of the Moon. Nowadays it is easy to do using special moon phase software that shows the Moon as it is in this or that period of time.
In the Moon lesson it will be good to explain more about the relations of the Moon and the Earth. The concepts of rotation around the Sun's orbit during one year can be explained. Then explain what measures the day hours - the rotation of Earth around its own axis. And then you can say about the Moon as our satellite that rotates around Earth. After that it is logical to explain the influence of the Earth's position on the way we see the Moon and what the Sun has to do with it.
As soon as kids got previous information, you can move further and tell that the moon doesn't shine, she only reflects the sunlight and it can be visible both night and day.
Create your own Moon model from the soft material or Styrofoam and use the flashlight to light it. Make everything to make children interested in it. If you want to know how to finish this experiment with children of K-6 class, visit the Education Reference Desk web-site.
Let children take their time involved into the Moon-related activities. If they are interested in more information answer their questions, as Moon Phases can be quite complicated concept. Make sure it is exciting and full of surprises for your class. Keep in mind that visual representation of information works best when you explain Moon Phases, so don't hesitate to utilize different visuals, from pictures, maps of night sky, software, songs, videos etc.