Moon phases puzzle

Put images of the phases of the moon in the correct order.
Science content
Earth/Space: Sun, Moon, Solar System, Universe (1, 4, 6)
Lessons activity is in
  • print out of moon phase images - I use this image from NASA, omitting some of the images
  • paper cutter or scissors

    Make a set of moon phases cards for each table group or each student.
    I use 16 images from a NASA page:

    Ask them to place them in order in a circle.
    Note that ordering these cards is tricky if one is not familiar with the sequence already. Depending on the students' prior knowledge of the phases of the moon, provide images to help them order their cards into a circle.

    Image of the phases of the moon around Earth, which students basically copy to place their cards:

    Image of the Moon showing its features, so students know which way up to orient their cards:…
    Interesting Moon features explained:
    Dark areas are lava flows from when the moon was younger (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.
    The moon has mountains and craters (tallest mountain over half the height of Everest on Earth).

    Depending on how hard the puzzle is for students, they can be started off with 8 cards (recommended for grade 3/4) and then add in the others.


    Put an image of the Earth on each tub containing the cards, so it can be placed in the centre of the moon phases circle.

    Grades taught
    Gr 3
    Gr 4
    Teaching site
    Gordon Elementary