If you caught my last blog post (you can read it here), you know that a few weeks ago we transformed our classroom into the International Space Station. My students are over-the-moon excited about this unit. (pun intended) As our unit unfolded, my students became very interested in learning more about the Moon.
We watched the video of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on it. The kids chuckled as he “hippity hopped” his way across the surface and were enthralled with what the Moon felt and looked like.
To explain what a crater was, we completed a simple activity that was a favorite in my classroom. To do this, we all went outside and collected three rocks. (Each child had to find a small, medium, and palm sized rock.) We then came inside and read the book, If You Decide to Go To The Moon. (I highly recommend this book.)
Then we made a moon out of a round platter and flour. We talked about why the Moon has craters and discussed what would happen if we dropped meteors (rocks) on our moon. The kids were more than happy to make predictions and test their ideas. One at a time, they dropped their rocks onto our moon and discussed what happened.
They were so excited as the rocks made craters and splattered flour all over the black sheet I had placed on the carpet!
We then tested what would happen if we stood on top of a chair and dropped a meteor.
As the experiment continued, the students began to notice that if they chose to drop a large meteor, the crater would be larger. They also realized that the height from which they dropped the meteor also mattered. As connections were being made, the students began to connect what they were observing to velocity and distance. This simple activity filled in many gaps and answered many of my students questions.
Another question that my students wanted to investigate pertained to orbit and rotation. To help my students understand these concepts, I set up a top investigation. To do this, I paced a hula hoop on the floor (to contain the tops) and then showed my students how to spin them. They created a game where each child took a top and the last top spinning, was the winner! (I felt transported back in time by this game! Old school games for the win!!)
(I purchased these tops from Nova Natural. You can get them here:
After they had a good grasp of these terms, we related this newly acquired knowledge to the phases of the Moon which then led to the famous Oreo Moon Phases activity. My students had a blast preparing their new moons, first quarter moons, full moons, and last quarter moons.
However, eating their moons was the best part!
(Before they ate their “work,” I had them orally tell me the phases of the Moon. Afterwards, they documented what we did in their journals.)
One last activity that we completed while learning more about the Moon was a craft. We created a mixture of white flour and white paint. (I kept adding flour until the paint was thick.) The kids used this mixture to paint a moon on a black piece of card stock.
Then, they used empty water bottles to create craters on the surface of their moons.
Finally, we wrote sentences about their moons (not pictures) to add to their craft.
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