Phasing in Lunar Observations

By Wilhelm, Jennifer; McMillan, Sally et al. | Science Scope, March 2006 | Go to article overview

Phasing in Lunar Observations


Wilhelm, Jennifer, McMillan, Sally, Walters, Kendra, Lovering, Emma, Science Scope


Byline: Jennifer Wilhelm, Sally McMillan, Kendra Walters, and Emma Lovering

Students create the correct geometric configurations for various Moon phases using styrofoam balls (representing the Earth and the Moon), and an overhead projector (representing the Sun).

This interdisciplinary Moon unit was recently taught in seventh-grade science, mathematics, and English classrooms with three experienced teachers and 186 energetic students. Within the unit we incorporate aspects of the National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Principles and Standards (NCTM 2000), and the National Council of Teachers of English Standards (NCTE 1996). This interdisciplinary unit lasts six to seven weeks where students explore the phases of the Moon through science, mathematics, and language arts. In order to gauge students' prior knowledge regarding the Moon and its phases, we administer the Lunar Phases Concept Inventory or LPCI (Lindell 2002). Questions on the inventory include the time of a lunar cycle, the direction of the Moon's orbit, and the cause of the Moon's phases. Figure 1 illustrates an example question from the LPCI. (For a complete copy of the inventory, contact Rebecca Lindell at rlindel@siue.edu.) We also use this inventory at the end of the unit to assess student learning.

Phase one

We begin this unit by having students observe the Moon over a five-week time period. They are asked to make sense of their Moon observations and are required to keep a daily Moon journal. In this journal, students are given an invitation to write "whatever they wish and think is relevant," with at least two sentences per entry. Students can conduct their viewing sessions on their own, or invite family and even pets to accompany them. Students are encouraged to use descriptive language when making their observations, and to supplement their entries with poetry, sketches, and other artistic endeavors inspired by their daily viewings. This approach generates a mix of creative and scientific entries. On the same page you are apt to find the Moon described both as a "watermelon in the sky" and a "waxing gibbous." Meteorological conditions will often be layered below prose, as evidenced in this student verse.

The full Moon glows with its soothing light. Not a single star glimmers on this cold Thursday night. As I breathe, a cloud forms in front of my face, And I hear the wind blow, at a quick, steady pace.

Phase two

In English class, students read multicultural, mythological tales surrounding the Moon and natural phenomena. Students also take turns each day reading a tale to their class from Thirteen Moons on Turtles Back: A Native American Year of Moons (Bruchac and London 1997). In addition, students compile lists of nature-oriented figurative language. These lists contain entries from their Moon journals, such as "the peaceful Moon calms the inner soul," and a portrayal of the Moon as a "lantern in the sky." This language broadens students' descriptive powers, and is put to practical use in their next assignment, The Moon Phases Poetry and Legends Scrapbook.

Over a period of approximately two weeks, students create their scrapbooks (using materials such as construction paper, yarn, markers, and glitter). Within the scrapbooks, students assemble their own images and depictions of the Moon. They can be original illustrations and prose; and/or imagery and descriptions taken from magazines, websites, and books. The language arts teacher provides additional instruction on painting, drawing, and collage techniques to help students express and organize their collections. Prior to these art lessons, we present students with an assortment of art prints of lunar images for the purpose of inspiration and to show the many different ways that people have visualized the Moon. …

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

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Phasing in Lunar Observations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.