Phases of the Moon

by Mia Boleis

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The Moon

  • The Moon was probably made 4.5 billion years ago when a large object hit the Earth and blasted out rocks that came together to orbit round the Earth.
  • They eventually melted together, cooled down and became the Moon.
  • From the Earth we can only see one side of the Moon; the other side is always turned away from us.
  • The moon reflects light from the sun

Lunar Month

  • All parts of the Moon are lit in turn by the Sun.
  • As it rotates round the Earth we see different fractions of the sunlit half, or hemisphere, of the Moon.
  • These are known as the phases of the Moon, or lunar phases.
  • The Moon changes from a thin crescent to a full moon and back again to a crescent in one month (actually 29 days, which is a lunar month).

Bill Nye- THE MOON

Bill Nye The Science Guy Season 1 Episode 11 The Moon


We Start from the New Moon, and follow the diagram counter clockwise.
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The New Moon

  • The New Moon is when the moon orbits closest to the Sun in the sky as seen from the Earth.
  • The side of the moon facing the Earth is not illuminated.
  • Additionally, the moon is up through out the day, and down through out the night.
  • We cannot see the moon during this phase.

The Waxing Moon

  • “Waxing” means growing.
  • After the new moon appears in the sky as a tiny sliver of light the moon waxes.
  • It grows into a crescent, curving to your left as you look at it and then into a half moon.
  • This takes a week and so the period is described as the Moon’s first quarter.

The Waxing Crescent

  • During this phase, part of the Moon is beginning to show. This lunar sliver can be seen each evening for a few minutes just after sunset.

First Quarter

  • During first quarter, 1/2 of the moon is visible for the first half of the evening, and then goes down, leaving the sky very dark

The Waxing Gibbous Moon

  • Gibbous means humped and describes the shape of the Moon as it grows from a half moon to a full moon.
  • Another week has passed and this is the Moon’s second quarter.

The Full Moon

  • The Full Moon is when the Earth is between the sun and the moon.
  • A Full Moon is the only moon phase that shines the whole night through.

The Waning Moon

  • “Waning” means shrinking.
  • Now the Moon begins to get smaller again – it “wanes”.
  • The third quarter takes us from a full moon to a half moon again, but this time it is the right hand side of the moon that shines.

The Waning Gibbous

  • Like the Waxing Gibbous Moon, during this phase, we can see all but a sliver of the Moon.
  • The difference is that instead of seeing more of the Moon each night, we begin to see less and less of the Moon each night.

Third (Last) Quarter

  • During a Third (Last) Quarter Moon we can see exactly 1/2 of the Moon's lighted surface.

The Waning Crescent Moon

  • The last quarter takes us from a half moon back to a crescent moon, facing right, and to a point where the moon disappears.
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Phases of the Moon Explanation for kids -Animation Lesson Unit

Moon Phase Oreo Activity

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  • 4.8 a. The student will investigate and understand the relationships among Earth, the moon, and the sun. Key concepts include the motions of Earth, the moon, and the sun;
  • 3.8 a The student will investigate and understand basic patterns and cycles occurring in nature. Key concepts include patterns of natural events such as day and night, seasonal changes, simple phases of the moon, and tides;