The Moon Project

By Trundle, Kathy Cabe; Willmore, Sandra et al. | Science and Children, March 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Moon Project


Trundle, Kathy Cabe, Willmore, Sandra, Smith, Walter S., Science and Children


Byline: Kathy Cabe Trundle, Sandra Willmore and Walter S. Smith

What do Australia, Alaska, Qatar, Indiana, and Ohio all have in common? Similar climates? Population numbers? No, the authentic writing More Observations Of Nature (MOON) Project! In this unique project, teachers from these disparate geographic locations teamed up to instruct children in grades four through eight via the internet on a nearly universally challenging subject for teachers in the elementary classroom-the phases of the Moon. Through a combination of authentic observations and writings, hands-on learning, and technology, the study both taught students accurately about the phases of the Moon and expanded their cultural understandings through communication with students and teachers in different parts of the world.

Here's a description of the project as it unfolded with a group of students from New Albany, Ohio.

Authentic Observations

Science educators have consistently called for instruction that involves making daily Moon observations for several weeks and analyzing the data (Abell, George, and Martini 2002; Trundle, Atwood, and Christopher 2002), and these observations are a central element of the Moon Project. To begin, students made and recorded daily Moon observations over a two-month period on lunar observation worksheets (Figure 1). Students shared data weekly as a class, looking for patterns in their data and noting any discrepancies among the observations. To facilitate this weekly data-sharing in class, the teacher drew seven circles on the board, and the students replicated sketches from their Moon calendars, including the dates, times, and directions of their observations.

Figure 1. Lunar observation form.

Mon., March 8

Time Direction Angle

Tues., March 9

Time Direction Angle

Wed., March 10

Time Direction Angle

Thurs., March 11

Time Direction Angle

Fri., March 12

Time Direction Angle

Sat., March 13

Time Direction Angle

Sun., March 14

Time Direction Angle

Question of the week:

Where and when will be a good time to look for the Moon next week?

Sometimes anomalies in the data were revealed- i.e., drawings from different students on the same day that showed Moons very different in shape or orientation to the horizon. The drawings from additional students were analyzed to seek consensus. Students also were asked to look for patterns in the shapes (e.g., the Moon appeared to be getting bigger each day; we saw more of the Moon from one day to the next), patterns in the times of day the Moon was observed (e.g., we mostly saw the Moon in the mornings this week), and patterns in the direction we had to look to see the Moon (e.g., we saw the Moon in the south when school started and at recess it was in the west). On days when the Moon was not observed by any student, sky conditions were noted.

Sharing Moon Observations

As the students made daily Moon observations, they also answered writing prompts once a week to reflect on their data (see NSTA Connection), and, via the internet they compared what they were learning with students around the world.

The writing prompts asked students to describe their most recent Moon observations and compare their observations with what students were seeing in other parts of the world.

At first, the students focused on the date and time they could see the Moon, the shape of the Moon, and the direction they had to look to see the Moon on one day. Later, students were asked to describe observed changes in the shape of the Moon and again to compare what they were seeing with what students were seeing in different geographic locations.

Each student also responded to at least two other students' postings each week.

Student participation was assessed using a checklist to record when students shared data, analyzed data, and completed writing tasks.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The Moon Project
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?