Moon Phases & Eclipses

  • Recommended Grade Level: 6-8     
  • Required Time: 3 forty-five minute sessions

Moon Phases & Eclipses is a free and innovative 3-day unit that provides interactive videos, hands-on activities, lesson plans, and student worksheets to explore why the Moon's phase changes. The curriculum uses a combination of Earth- and space-based visualizations and models to address common misconceptions and strengthen students’ spatial reasoning skills. Moon Phases & Eclipses is aligned with standards for middle school Earth and Space Science (NGSS MS-ESS1-1).

The program covers the rotation and revolution; the relationship between sunlight and the objects in our solar system; the different phases of the lunar cycle; and a four-step process for predicting an Earth-based perspective of the Moon's phase. Join us as we use WorldWide Telescope to journey around the solar system to better understand Moon Phases as seen from Earth!

Curriculum Guides

These two Curriculum Guides provide teachers with all the necessary materials for each day of the 3-day ThinkSpace Moon Phases & Eclipses curriculum. The Moon Phases curriculum and the Eclipses curriculum each include a variety of components that you will find on this webpage: daily lesson plans; student activity sheets; classroom activities; and interactive instructional videos.

Moon Phases | Curriculum Guide pdf

 

Eclipses | Curriculum Guide pdf

 

Modeling Moon Phases with WWT
modeling Moon Phases in the classroom

Instructional Media

In order to run the Moon Phases curriculum in your classroom, you will need to use the Moon Phases multimedia content as well. You have two options here. You can either (1) run a collection of slideshows and videos on a classroom projector, or (2) download and use the interactive Moon Phases WorldWide Telescope file (you will need to download the WorldWide Telescope application to your computer as well).

Session 1 Media

Session 1 Slideshows

Astronomy Basics

Session 2 Media

Session 2 Slideshows

Mission 1 | Mission 2 | The Lunar Cycle

Session 3 Media

Session 3 Videos

Eclipses

 

Activity Sheets

In this section you'll find the Activity Sheets that your students will need for every day of this curriculum.

Full Course

Full Moon Phases Curriculum

Complete sets of Activity Sheets || Answer Keys (color) | Answer Keys (b&w)

Session 1 Sheets

Session 1: The Four Steps

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

Session 2 Sheets

Session 2: The Missions

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

Session 3 Sheets

Session 3: Eclipses

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

 

Digital Resources

Moon Phases & Eclipses on WorldWide Telescope

All of the Moon Phases & Eclipses digital content was made using WorldWide Telescope (WWT), a free, interactive software that models our universe and allows users to record tours of their explorations. WWT requires Windows, so the tours are converted into videos for accessibility. For the fully-interactive experience of this curriculum, follow the steps below to install and run WWT.

Download the Moon Phases WorldWide Telescope tour file (.wtt) from Zenodo.

Download the Eclipses WorldWide Telescope tour file (.wtt) from Zenodo.

 

How do I run a WWT tour on my Windows computer?

You will need to download WorldWide Telescope to your Windows computer to run a WWT tour file.

  1. Download WWT (for free) from worldwidetelescope.org
  2. Download the Moon Phases and the Eclipses WorldWide Telescope tour files (.wtt) above.
  3. Double-click the .wtt file to open and run the Moon Phases tour or the Eclipses tour.