A Closer Look at the Moon

Space Science Series

Object Type: Video
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A Closer Look at the Moon

This inspiring look at the Moon helps students understand what makes Earth's nearest neighbor so unique. Take a close look at the Moon and learn why there are so many more craters on it than on Earth. Learn how the Moon affects our oceans' tides. Understand the phases of the Moon and discover the difference between a waxing and waning moon. Learn about lunar and solar eclipses and the Moon's orbit around Earth.

Take a closer look at the Moon and find out what makes Earth's nearest neighbor so unique.

  1. Students will understand the moon’s relationship to Earth.
  2. Students will describe the composition of the moon.
  3. Students will understand the effects of gravity on the moon.
  4. Students will detail the phases of the moon.

  1. Before viewing the video

    Lead a short discussion with the following questions. (You might want to record the responses so you can check for accuracy afterward.) “Which is larger — the sun or the moon or Earth?” “Does the moon have water on it? Or air? Or plants? Or animals?” Ask the class to tell you what shape to expect to see in the sky when looking for the moon. After you get several responses, ask the students to watch in the video for the correct answer.

  2. After viewing the video

    1. Rotation and Revolution. Use students to illustrate the difference between rotation and revolution, and show that revolution requires two objects while rotation requires only one. Ask a student to come to the front of the class and rotate — spin him/her if you need to. Then ask the student to revolve — if necessary, help him/her move around you. Then move away and ask the student to revolve again without you. If the student revolves around an object, point out that a second object is required for revolution to occur. If the student cannot find a way to revolve, ask what he/she needs. You can also illustrate the meaning of satellite and orbit. You and the student can take turns being the satellite. You can mark a particular orbit on the floor with chalk, and/or change the size or shape of the orbit as you revolve around the student. To further reinforce, ask students to pair up and practice rotating and revolving — taking turns being the satellite and encouraging one student to follow the orbit made by the first satellite student. This can be done either before or after viewing the video.
    2. Phases of the Moon. To reinforce the names of the phases of the moon, color half of a tennis ball black or a dark color. Standing in front of the class, hold the ball where all students see it from the same angle. Start with the black side fully at the facing forward (New Moon). Then turn it slowly, stopping as each phase is seen to announce the name of that phase. When you get back to the New Moon position, ask what that phase is called. Repeat and ask the students to supply the phase names. Ask if the moon is waxing or waning. You could reinforce further by randomly showing the phases and asking what phase is represented. And/or give the ball to a student and ask him/her to display the phase you name.

  • ID: S1302
  • Subject: Science: Earth
  • Grade Level: 2-5