Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Moon Phases, and supports the standard of analyzing changes in the observable shape of the Moon throughout the course of a month. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask students:

  • When you look up at the night sky, what do you observe?
  • How does the Moon differ in shape over time?

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description on the Moon Phases topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the Related Reading articles. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: ENGAGE

Students express what they learned about the Moon’s phases while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Create a scientific vlog from the POV of an astrologist that answers this question: How does the Earth-Sun-Moon position impact your observations of the Moon? (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas) 
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying the Moon’s phases as the  positions of the Moon, Earth, and Sun change throughout a month. (Essential Literacy Skill: Summarize key details)
  • Creative Coding: Code a learning game challenging players to sort the Moon’s phases and related vocabulary terms into self-selected categories. (Essential Literacy Skill: Acquire and use domain specific words and phrases)

Step 4: APPLY & ASSESS 

Apply: Students complete the Moon Phases Challenge, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Moon Phases Quiz

Step 5: EXTEND LEARNING

Space Unit: Continue to build understanding of Earth’s place in the universe with more BrainPOP topics.

Additional Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Lesson Plan Next Generation Science Standards Alignments

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