1. Begin by describing the board and guiding students to tactually observe the following:
a. The location of the Sun (large sponge), Moon (round tack), and the Earth (small sponge).
b. Markers - Each tack represents the location of a phase of the Moon as the Moon revolves around the Earth. The thumb tacks represent First Quarter
, Full Moon
, and 3rd Quarter
while the other tacks represent Waxing Crescent
, Waxing Gibbous
, Waning Gibbous
, and Waning Crescent
c. Describe the red yarn as representing the Sun's rays and have students tactually observe it.
d. Describe the white string that connects the Earth and the Moon. Explain that there is not a string connecting the Earth and Moon but that this string describes the path of the Moon around the Earth.
2. Quickly say that the only thumb tack that moves is the Moon in this model. You may wish to clarify that the Earth is also moving but that this model does not show this motion.
3. Begin with the Moon in the Full Moon position (See picture at top
). In this position, the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon. Describe the view from the Earth as a complete Moon and the position of the Moon, Earth, and Sun at this phase.
4. Before using the model to show students the phases in order, bring the Moon back to the Sun (New Moon). Ask the student if he can feel the Sun's rays (red string) Explain that in this position (New Moon) the Moon is not visible at all because the Sun's rays are hitting the back of the Moon.
5. Proceed to utilize the model to teach the students the positions of the Moon relative to the Earth and Sun during each phase by rotating the Moon around the Earth to the right (counterclockwise) Phases in order: New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Third Quarter, Waning Crescent, and then returning to New Moon.
6. Assessment of students understanding of the phases of the Moon can be part of an informal or formal assessment using the board.
Model of Phases of the Moon