RAFT Activity Kit: Static Merry-go-Round

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Explore the phases of the moon with RAFT hands on Activities!

I am an elementary school teacher at Orchard School.  Before the winter holidays I spent three days teaching my class about moon activities that I had learned at a RAFT workshop last summer entitled 'Crafty Moon Activities'.

 The lessons I used to introduce the moon to my second and third graders were:  Modeling the Moon’s Rotation, Moon: Nearside-Far side, and Nine and a Half to the Moon.  In these lessons, based on RAFT Idea Sheets, the children learned using movement and hands on materials where and how the moon moves, what it looks like on both sides of the moon, and physically how far the moon is from the earth.  

We then talked about the fact that the moon doesn’t change shape, but that the reflection of the sunlight on the moon creates the images that we see at night. To illustrate this point, I used the RAFT Idea Sheet Holding the Moon in Your Hand.  Using a light source and simple RAFT materials like Styrofoam balls with coffee stir sticks to hold them up, we actually demonstrated this concept!

Lastly we acted out the different phases of the moon with pictures pasted on plastic cup filters and then each table made their own moon mobiles with materials from RAFT. All of these lessons I shared with my students were taught at the Crafty Moon Activity Workshop last year where we were also given most of the supplies for these activities! 

My students loved the crafty moon activities as they were fun, exciting and educational.  As they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating! I really think that these were a great set of activities as I heard many comments from my students like – “It felt awesome learning about the moon.  The most interesting part of the moon was its one whole moon, but it just changes!”  “The coolest thing was when we turned off the lights and held the soccer ball on the straw.  It was way cool!”   “I believe that the most fun and exciting thing about the moon is its history.  The many craters and holes on the moon’s surface are really interesting!”

If you have students wanting to explore the moon like mine, you should check out the Next Crafty Moons Workshop that will be coming up soon!

Kathleen Gould, Elementary School Teacher, Orchard School, San Jose. Kathleen is also a RAFT Member and a RAFT Fellow.

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