Lesson plan

The Moon

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

Image of the distance between moon and earth: 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)

Choose two or three activities for a lesson.

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

Moon phases puzzle:
To reinforce the order of the moon phases.
Make the collection larger or smaller depending on the students' age.

Appearance of the Moon's surface:
Look closely at the moon's surface e.g. image at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Full_Moon_%2815984763045%29.jpg
or https://moon.nasa.gov/news/25/the-next-full-moon-is-the-flower-moon-cor…
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_Th…)
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. See https://moon.nasa.gov/resources/353/wallach-crater/?category=images
We know how these features are formed - dark areas are lava flows from when the moon was younger - same rock as basalt on earth (though different composition). The light-coloured areas on the Moon are feldspar rock (specifically anorthosite).
The light from the Sun reflects off the Moon and bounces back to Earth. So ‘moonlight' is actually reflected sunlight. The dark areas of the Moon reflect less sunlight. More details here: https://moon.nasa.gov/moon-in-motion/sun-moonlight/moonlight/#:~:text=T…)%20rocks%2C%20like%20anorthosite.
The Sun heats up the Moon’s surface to 120°C in the daytime. It can cool to -193°C at night time. (No atmosphere to spread heat around its surface, as on Earth.)
The round circles on the Moon's surface 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=KDp1tiUsZw8

Moon causing the tides:
Tides activity to model how the Moon pulls on the oceans to make the tides.
Show barnacles feeding as they are submerged by water, as when the tide comes in.

Sun, Earth and the Moon to scale:
Show how there is mostly empty space between the Moon and Earth, and the Sun.
Use an exercise ball for a sun, and show a 5.5mm Earth placed 63m away. and a 1.5mm Moon is 15cm from the Earth. (Or smaller scale: a 10cm diameter sun, a 1mm diameter Earth 11m from the Sun, and the Moon 0.2mm diameter, 2.5cm from Earth.)

Grades taught
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 6
Gr 7