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Let's teach! Primary

Lesson 4

Why does the moon change shape?

Lesson Plan

Preparation

  • Colour photographs of the moon and phases in reference books or the internet would be useful to display throughout this lesson.
  • Reference books or the internet need to be available for students to complete the last question on the worksheet.
  • Provide a chart with the labelled phases of the moon to complete the investigation sheet. Students could also refer to the diagram within the lesson.

Curriculum links

  • Australian Curriculum: ACSSU048, ACSHE050, ACSIS053, ACSIS057, ACSIS058, ACSIS060
  • NSW Curriculum: ST2-10ES-S, ST2-1WS-S, ST2-4LW-S
  • VIC Curriculum: VCSSU056, VCSSU061, VCSIS065, VCSIS069, VCSIS071, VCSIS072
  • WA Curriculum: ACSSU048, ACSHE050, ACSIS053, ACSIS057, ACSIS058, ACSIS060

Suggested teaching strategies

Introduction

Display the digital lesson on your smartboard to introduce the concept of the moon changing shape.

Development

  • Provide students with printable versions of the student summary and worksheet. Have students complete the worksheet.
  • When students study the diagram of the phases of the moon on the student page, ensure they are looking at the moon from the Earth’s position and not the sun’s.

Differentiation

  • Students could work in pairs on the observation activity on the investigation sheet. Ask them to predict what they think the moon will look like before they check each night. Explain to the students that the first observation they make of the moon on the first day of the chosen month will not necessarily be of a new or full moon.

Conclusion

  • Students should compare and discuss their observations in the table with others in the class.

Assessment

Worksheet answers

1. 24, one, 29, one, one
2. We see the moon because it reflects light from the sun.
3. We see the moon change shape/go through different phases because different amounts of sunlight are reflected off it as it orbits.
4. (a) New moon (b) First quarter (c) Waxing gibbous or Waning gibbous
5. The sliver of light we see is on the left side of the moon in the waxing crescent phase and the right in the waning crescent phase.
6. Because the Earth is between the sun and the moon.

Science as a Human Endeavour question

Some things Galileo Galilei discovered with his telescope were the rings of Saturn, four major moons of Jupiter (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto), the phases of Venus, sunspots and that the moon was not smooth but covered with craters and mountains.

Investigation sheet

Teacher check.

Student Pages

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Intro 1
Lesson 4
Why does the moon change shape?
Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Intro 2
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Lesson 4
Why does the moon change shape?
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Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 1

Earth has only
one moon.

It is our closest neighbour in outer space - about 384,000 kilometres away.

A spacecraft takes about three days to get there.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 2

Our moon moves in
two ways.

It spins (rotates) on its
axis like the Earth does.

However, it does this much more slowly.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 3

The Earth takes 24 hours or one day to rotate.
The moon takes around 29 days or about one month!
As it rotates, the moon is also travelling around (orbiting) the Earth. This also takes about one month.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 4

The moon has no heat or light of its own - it reflects light from the sun.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 5

From Earth, we only see one side of the moon; the other side faces towards space.

We usually see the moon at night but sometimes it can be seen in the day.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 6

Have you noticed that the moon doesn’t look the same all the time?

It seems to change shape as it orbits Earth.

These changes in the way it
looks are called phases.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 7

They occur because we see different amounts of the sun’s light reflected off the moon during the time it orbits the Earth.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 8

Each phase of the moon has a different name to describe its shape.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 9

New moon

We see no moon because the moon is between the Earth and the sun.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 10

Waxing crescent

We see a sliver of light on the left side of the moon.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 11

First quarter

We see the left half of the moon.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 12

Waxing gibbous

We see three-quarters of the moon.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 13

Full moon

We see all of one side of the moon because the Earth is between the moon and the sun.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 14

Waning gibbous

We see three-quarters of the moon.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 15

Last quarter

We see the right half of the moon.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 16

Waning crescent

We see a sliver of light on the right side of the moon.

Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Slide 17
Science Year 3 Unit 3 Lesson 4 Final Slide
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Downloads

Student Summary

Summary of student page information

Worksheet

Activities for students to complete

Investigation Worksheet

An experiment to consolidate learnings

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