You are here

Lesson Plan

The Moon

Summary: 
Model the phases of the moon, discuss the moon's appearance, and model moon dust formation.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Earth/Space: Sun, Moon, Solar System, Universe (1, 4, 6)
Earth/Space: Indigenous People’s Traditions around Sky, Land and Seasons (K-7)
Procedure: 

Image of the distance between moon and earth: http://digg.com/2018/earth-moon-distance-photo or https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/91494/right-here-right-now (The Moon is 384,400 km from Earth. It is only 40,000 km around the earth)

Phases of the Moon:
Ask students if they have seen the different phases (shapes) of the moon.
Show them an image of the phases of the moon e.g. http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/multimedia/gallery/moon_phases.png
Do the Phases of the moon activity

Appearance of the Moon's surface:
Look closely at the moon's surface e.g. image at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/images/content/528691main_Super_Moon...
What do you see? Different cultures see a Man, a Rabbit, or other images (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_in_the_Moon#mediaviewer/File:Man_In_The...)
Gallileo was the first to realise that the moon was mountainous by watching the shadows changing (others thought it smooth, and also that everything revolved around the sun). In 1609. See Gallileo's paintings of the moon at http://cdn8.openculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/GalileoMoon1.jpg
Now we can look a lot closer to the moon and see mountains and craters. In this image you can see You can see Mare Imbrium and the tallest mountain on the moon: http://astrobob.areavoices.com/2014/11/30/happy-nights-adrift-on-the-moo...
We know how these features are formed - dark areas are lava flows from when the moon was younger - the same rock as one of the dark rocks on earth: basalt.
The round circles are craters from chunks of rock, or meteorites hitting the moon. All the mountains are formed by impacts, as the moon does not have tectonic plates.
Crater activity to show how the craters and their rays are formed.

Moon landing sites:
To land on the moon we needed to look much closer to map out a landing site.
Through the cameras of a probe called Ranger 9 at the Alphonsus Crater, we see the images on p.4, 5 and 6 of http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/377727main_Lunar_Math.pdf (Ranger 9 crash-landed on the moon (1965), to find a potential place for man to land on the moon).
Now there have been many moon landings (see the interactive webpage at http://moon.nasa.gov/home.cfm). (On this interactive, Ranger 9 is blue circle just lower left of centre earth-facing image.)
LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) is currently making a detailed study of the moon and impact analysis has found water-ice on the moon.

Moon dust:
The surface of the moon is covered in “regolith” or moon dust.
We will make regolith, then look at one of its properties that has made work on the moon challenging.
Do the Moon reglolith activity.

Gravity on the moon:
Gravity: Astronaut jumping video - gravity difference between moon and earth. www.youtube.com/watch?v=efzYblYVUFk
Feather and hammer dropped on moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5_dOEyAfk

Moon causing the tides:
Tides activity to model how the Moon pulls on the oceans to make the tides.

Notes: 

Strathcona lesson 1/7 did Moon Phases then Moon Regolith.
Selkirk did Moon Phases, Tides model (and orbits) then Craters.
Gordon did Moon Phases then Tides model (then orbits).

Grades taught: 
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 6
Gr 7
Teaching Site: 
Gordon Elementary
Selkirk Elementary
Strathcona Elementary