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By Ruth Barnard

Discover the phases of the moon using things you have at home and record each of the eight phases using crackers

You will need:

• Lamp or other light source

• Small ball (or the moon model you've made with us here)

• Larger ball


What to do:

1. We are going to recreate the moons orbit around earth... So grab your moon (small ball or clay moon), earth (larger ball) and sun (lamp or torch). Remember: the moon doesn't have its own light, so when we see the moon shining from earth that is the sun reflecting off its surface.

2. Hold up your earth and moon in line with the sun

3. Slowly move the moon in an orbit around the earth. As you do try and make sure the same part of the moon always faces the earth. The reason we always see the same side of the moon is because it is tidally locked. This means it does not spin on its axis like the earth does but always faces earth in the same way.

4. Pay attention to where the sun lights up the moon. Now try and imagine how the moon would look to us on earth at different points on its orbit.

5. People often talk about the ‘dark side of the moon' but do you think this really exists? Look at how the light from your lamp is hitting your moon. Does the moon really have a ‘dark side'? Or does it simply have a side we cannot see?

A Yummy Diagram of the Moon's Phases

What you need:

• Crackers

• Vegemite or Marmite

• Spreading knife

• Black paper or card

• Small labels or pieces of paper

• Pen



A sweet alternative snack could be a plain sweet biscuit with Nutella on top but you will need a good dose of exercise to balance out all that sweetness which should just be a one off treat.




What to do:

1. Create Labels for all eight of the moons phases:

  • New moon

  • Waxing crescent moon

  • First quarter moon (or a half moon)

  • Waxing gibbous moon

  • Full moon

  • Waning gibbous moon

  • Last quarter moon (or a half moon)

  • Waning crescent moon

2. Lay eight crackers in a circle next to each label

3. Cut out a larger circle ( you can use the marmite lid to trace a circle) and write earth on it or decorate it as the earth, you can put this in the middle to show you that the moon travels around the earth

4. Carefully fill in the dark parts of each phase with vegemite

5. Think about where the sun would be shining from and add in a piece of paper representing the sunlight




HINT: To work out where the sun would be shining from in your diagram go back to your 3D model again and find out where the sun, earth and moon would be for the ‘new moon.'

What does the diagram mean?

The diagram shows us that the moon travels around earth, which is called the moon's orbit. In this diagram we are shown how the moon would look from earth at eight points in its orbit. We call these the moons phases.


Eat the Moon:

When you have finished your phases of the moon cracker chart, get others to come and see it, grab some cheese and other treats and see who can make a cracker that looks most like the moon.




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