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Madison Metropolitan School District

Moonwatch 2: Teacher's Guide

Outline of concepts to be presented

Expanded description: This is the second of two programs which are designed to introduce and wrap-up your moon observation unit. Use Moonwatch 2 after your students have finished recording their observations of the moon for at least one month. Moonwatch 2 summarizes their observations, shows the changes in the planetarium sky, delves deeper into the Apollo program, and introduces the students to the other moons in our solar system. The ideal situation would be to include both programs (Moonwatch 1 and 2) in your unit.

**Special Note
At the beginning of Moonwatch 2, your class has an opportunity to present the results of their observations. This report would be a summary of the observations of the moon. It is recommended that teachers bring the class calendar or summary of observations with them to this program. Teachers have the option of preparing the students to make a brief presentation which summarizes their observations (see Activities below). The report should be about 5-10 minutes, can be either student or teacher lead, and should be focused on the following questions:

  1. What did you observe?
  2. What did you learn?
  3. Did you see any patterns?

General Concepts

  • Sometimes we can see the moon in the daytime, and sometimes we can see it at night.
  • The moon (also sun, stars, planets, etc.) seems to move across the daytime and nighttime sky.
  • The moon's appearance, or phase, changes a little each day in a pattern (cycle) that repeats in about a month.
  • The time when the moon is up in our sky changes a little each day.
  • You can use the dark spots on the moon (maria) to imagine Jack and Jill. And the order of the phases matches with the nursery rhyme.
  • We can use a telescope to help us to see the moon as if it were closer to us. (review)
  • Some of the features on the moon that we can see with a telescope include maria, highlands, and craters. (review)
  • Humans have traveled to the moon to explore and learn more about it. (review, expand)
  • There are many other moons in our solar system.

Connecting to the Classroom

This program is intended to help students pull together their observations of the moon, and it should be utilized after observing the moon in the classroom and at home for at least a month.

Activities you might consider doing in the classroom :

  • Students should record their observations of the moon in the day and night sky for at least one month before participating in this activity. Part 3 of the FOSS Investigation #4 (Looking for Change) in Air and Weather would be one example of how to structure these observations. See also Observing the Moon and our Daytime Moon Calendar.
  • Create a visual presentation to support your moon observation report:
    If you would like to reinforce technology skills, you can have the students work together to create a visual presentation to be presented on the dome. This presentation could be created in PowerPoint, or Keynote, and could include text and pictures which help them to report on their observations, and what they learned about the moon. Talk to the planetarium staff if you'd like your students to present this on the dome as part of this program.
  • Complete or review the activity Jack and Jill on the Moon. Even though this activity was designed for Kindergarten, you can use it to help the students remember the order of the phases and to recognize features on the moon.
  • Launching to the Moon Paper Activities:  NASA has produced a set of fun worksheets to support the new spacecraft being designed to take astronauts to the moon.
    Launching to the Moon Activity Sheets
    Moon Information - facts, activities, images, lesson plans
    What is Orion? - good web page with photos, information, and links to more resources

Vocabulary: some of the words the students will likely encounter

  • predict
  • observe (observations)
  • binoculars
  • telescope
  • maria (dark spots on the moon; low, flat areas; old craters that were filled with lava long ago)
  • highlands (light colored areas on the moon; higher, hilly areas on the moon)
  • crater (a bowl-shaped low area created by a space rock smashing into the surface)
  • pattern
  • rover (car-like vehicle Apollo astronauts used to explore the moon)
  • space probe (robot space craft used to explore other parts of our solar system)