Sydney D. Bennett
Central Michigan University
Moon Observations Final Reflection
Observing the moon was quite trickier than I had anticipated. When I am outside I always notice the moon and enjoy its beauty. I noticed that the first week I was observing the moon I was only able to catch it late in the evening. During the first week that I observed the moon it was leading up to becoming full by the next week, but it started as a first quarter moon when I began my observations. I also noticed that each time I went outside to look for it my direction changed slightly. For example the first day I observed I was facing South East and the last day of that weekly observation I was facing south. The second week of my observations were different than the first week. These times I saw they moon were easier for me to catch a glimpse because I was seeing the moon in the daytime. The first day I observed the second week the moon was a waxing gibbous and the last day the moon was a waning gibbous. The night of the full moon though it was pretty cloudy and I wasn’t able to snatch a photo. I also noticed that during the second week of my observations that the moon was more in a direct eastern direction and the last day I observed it was more west. The main limitations that made the observations difficult was the light pollution, clouds, and my camera on my phone didn’t take the best photos. It was easier for me to do my observations when I used the same place to view the moon. I also just realized that when I documented my observations I may have forgotten to indicate whether they were crescent or gibbous moons. Almost every observation was from my apartment front door.
My understanding of the moon phases was enhanced when we were able to do the hands on activity in class. Pretending I was the Earth while holding the moon really gave me a pretty frame of reference and understanding at how the rotation actually occurs. It was also beneficial to see my classmates do it as well and see how their moon looked different based on their location in the orbit as well. Doing the daily observations I was able to better notice how the quickly the direction of the viewer can change. This just shows how quickly the moons orbit and rotation really are. Seeing the class data I was able to compare my results and see where I may have made an error in my data collections. I really liked viewing the moon when it was almost full! My understanding of the moon is better conceptualized in my mind and I think it is because this project required lots of visual representations of the moon in different forms.
My prediction of the future moon phase as of today is that it will soon be a new moon. The moon has not been as prevalent in the sky and I also know that the moon cycle is about a month long. By the end of the month the moon should be in its New Moon phase. I think I was able to accomplish most of my learning goals. I really was hoping to be more consistent with my observations and I also wanted to provide more descriptions. However I gained a deeper understanding and foundations for ways I could utilize a project like this in my future classroom. Also by doing this reflection I feel that I was able to learn new information about the moon. Honestly I went into this thinking I knew mostly everything I needed to know but now I have a greater appreciation as well for the moon!
In the future when I am planning to teach my students about the Moon, Sun and Earth relationship I will incorporate various methods of learning into my class such as children’s literature that focuses on the moon, kinesthetic activities that engage the learners mind and body, and focusing on productive questions. It will also be critical to activate their prior knowledge while seeing what misconceptions they may have about the moon. Conceptualizing the relationship between the Earth, Sun and Moon can be challenging but if students are able to learn and observe this relationship in a variety of ways they can enhance their knowledge. For example, Fattal suggests that when activating prior knowledge of students consider their developmental age and misconceptions they may have. Going a step further she suggests doing a 30-day project that involved their very own illustrations of the moon as well as good discussions in groups. I would definitely use this in my classroom.
In another article, “A Sun- Earth-Moon Activity”, Ashmann expresses a fun activity for learning the moon phases that is identical to the activity we did in EDU 380 (light-bulb sun model). What I like most about this activity is that is engages all learners, it provides an accurate small scale model of our solar system, and it helps students make connections with the relationship between the Earth-Sun and Moon. Lastly, utilizing children’s literature will be very important when teaching this unit. In the article, “The Moon in Children’s Literature”, Troland and Trundle explain that during their research they discovered that many children’s literature shows misconceptions about the moon. Therefore, as an educator I want to incorporate books that are fictional and see if my students are able to pick out these misconceptions. By doing so it can be a form of assessment toward the end of the unit. However, I also want to incorporate texts that do accurately represent the moon and eventually compare and contrast the two. Overall, learning about the Moon may seem challenging to teach at first but there are so many creative and unique ways to help students conceptualize the content.
(this format would not let me do a hanging indent)
Ashmann, Scott. (2012). A Sun-Earth-Moon Activity to Develop Student Understanding of Lunar Phases and Frames of Reference. Science Scope, pages
Fattal, Laura Fellman. (2009). Conceptualizing Moon Phases: Helping students learn how to learn. The Center for Science Education, page.
Troland, Thomas H., Trundle, Kathy Cabe. (2005). The Moon in Children’s Literature. Science and Children, page