Understanding the Moon's Phases

This Tour is designed to help users understand the cause of Moon phases and be able to predict where the Moon is relative to the Sun and Earth during a particular phase, and vice versa.

The Tour encourages users to check their understanding at the end by answering multiple choice questions written via linked slides.

  • We used this Tour in 6th grade classroom that is equipped with multiple choice clickers.
  • Students were divided in groups of 3-4, and each group received a model Moon, a ball with one half colored dark, and a clicker.
  • Students were encouraged to discuss their ideas about moon phases, and the teacher and in class ambassador were able to get a sense of existing misconceptions.
  • At the multiple choice questions, students were encouraged to use their model Moons to recreate the phases shown, with one person in the group acting as the Earth, Moon, and Sun.
  • Each group then entered their multiple choice response in using the clicker.
  • The teacher was able to review the students’ choices and address the most common incorrect responses.
  • In some cases, we asked the students to do a new vote, after our discussion.

The full version of this tour can be downloaded here (by right-clicking) and viewed in the desktop version of WorldWide Telescope.

moon_phases_tour_-_post.wtt10.49 MB