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Lesson Plan

The Moon

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)
Activities in this lesson plan: 

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.

Do the Phases of the moon activity

Look closely at the moon's surface e.g. image at
What do you see? Different cultures see a Man, a Rabbit, or other images.
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

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:
All these features of the moon have names:
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.

To land on the moon we needed to look much closer to map out a landing site.
In the photo of the moon (, the dot next to the Ptolemaeus Crater is the Alphonsus crater, which is 100km wide.
Looking closer at the Alphonsus Crater through the cameras of a probe called Ranger 9, we see the images on p.4, 5 and 6 of (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 (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.

We travelled through space, 384,400 km, to land on the moon. See this image of the distance between moon and earth:
the-moon/ (It is only 40,000 km around the earth)

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.

If time, discuss other moon phenomena:
Gravity: Astronaut jumping video - gravity difference between moon and earth.
Feather and hammer dropped on moon:
Tides: Moon has enough gravitational pull on earth to pull the water around and make the tides on earth.


Lesson 1/7 at Strathcona

Grades taught: 
Gr 6
Gr 7
Teaching Site: 
Strathcona Elementary