We celebrated the moon today, in little ways that kept Maddy, Owen, and Cora interested after lunch and before the rest of our day.
Thanks to some really incredible websites, this Reading Specialist-mama learned about the moon right alongside of her kiddos. We demonstrated the phases by using cookies, we watched some really awesome moon-happy videos, and played with a 3D moon online. We even made a super-awesome, mini-phases of the moon flipbook.
It was our little way of rockin’ out Out of this World week, and I’m so glad we made this stop.
Here’s the skinny:
- Learning about the Moon–Phases, Facts, Flipbooks, Cookies: Like many children, my kids have always been interested in the moon.
We have a perpetual Moon-Hunt wherever we go and wherever we are–it’s always a contest who can spot the moon first, whether we’re walking to the pool, driving to the grocery store, or hanging at the park. So learning a little about the moon was something my kids were totally interested in.
Our moon-happy materials were ready!
While Maddy, Owen, and Cora ran to the bank with their dad this morning, I did a little quick moon-information hunting. And what I found were some really incredible resources and tons of materials right at my fingertips.
I printed out the Phases of the Moon Flipbook (station 7), and I cut it out and stapled it so it would be ready when they returned. I also bookmarked some sites with quick videos that I thought would be more engaging than any mini-lecture I could ever give them.
And during lunch, I gave them some hints about what we’d do after we were finished. I asked,
- What do you know about the moon for sure?
- What do you think might be true about the moon?
- How far is the moon from the earth?
- Do you know why the moon changes shape?
We chatted a bit about these topics, and after lunch I asked everyone to head to the dining room table.
Cora flips through our brand-spankin’ new Phases of the Moon Flipbook.
I said, Okay, today we’re going to spend a little bit of time talking about the moon–we see the moon every day, we love the moon, and we all could stand to learn a little bit about how the moon changes its shape. And I know a really cool way to help us learn about the different phases–or changing shapes of the moon–by using cookies. How awesome is that??
First, I showed them some sites that I found, and they each played a bit on them. We used:
- NASA — What’s up for July? Moon Phases: This is a 2 min video that gives kids everything they need about the moon in a totally easy-to-understand way.
- My Moon: 3D interactive moon. SO awesome, it’s nuts.
- NASA — Interactive Features, Moon
The following sites are also pretty awesome for building background information:
- NASA: Why the Moon?
- Lunar and Planetary Institute — Exploring the Moon
- LPI: Sky Tellers, Moon Phases
- LPI: Family Space Days
- Moon Phases
- tpt: Newton’s Apple: Phases of the Moon
After we activated a little schema and got some brains moving in the moon-motion, I showed Maddy, Owen, and Cora the Oreo Moon Phases from the LPI Family Space Days site (see station 8 on the sheet).
I said, Here’s another look at the phases of the moon–but with cookies. I read the first paragraph about what phases were (stages). And then I said, Let’s make sure we have all of the supplies we’ll need.
Maddy and Owen read the supplies, and we made sure that 4 Oreo cookies, a paper towel, a popsicle stick, and phases worksheet was in front of each person. I also gave each kiddo a piece of white legal paper as a place where they could place each phases.
Then we read ‘What to Do’. Maddy said, First we have to twist off the tops of the cookies!
So they did. . . very carefully.
Then I said, Okay, we’ve got to put the cookies in order from New Moon to Waning Crescent. So let’s do the easy ones first. Notice that the icing is the part of the moon that we see, and the cookie is what we don’t see. So can you find a cookie with no icing–one that looks like the New Moon? Good. Now find a spot for that New Moon cookie at the very edge of your paper.
They did. . . very happily.
Super. Now find a Full Moon cookie–one that has all the icing on it just like a Full Moon. They placed that cookie in the middle of their papers.
Cora works on her phases.
Now you get to be artists and use the popsicle sticks to move the icing around to make the other phases of the moon. Like if you can find a cookie with just a teeny bit of icing on it and move it to one side, that can be your Waxing Crescent Moon. Make sense?
They had already started and were working so hard, it was a riot.
Owen asked me about a million times if they could eat all of the cookies when they were finished, and I told him that they could eat two cookies, or four pieces. That was more motivation for them to finish their phases, I’m sure.
When they were finished, we admired their hard work, and then we ate their moon cookies, just about as quickly as they made them.
But as they were eating cookies, Maddy said, Mom, this was awesome.
I’m not sure if she meant learning about the moon’s phases or eating the cookies, but I’m hoping a little bit of both.
Three cheers for Out of this World week and the Smart Summer Challenge!
You can still link up your Week 5 Smart Summer Challenge ideas. You have ALL week–until late Thursday, August 4, 2011, to link up your ideas to win last week’s prize. SO worth it–so take a second and share your ideas for a chance to win $200 from Guidecraft!
We’re now only a few days away from our HUGE giveaways which I cannot wait to share. We’re coming down to the wire with our Smart Summer Challenge, the 6-week fun summer learning campaign I’m running with Candace and MaryLea, where we’re challenging all parents to do what they can to throw in a little bit of fun learning every day (or as often as they can!). And seriously–summer reading counts!! So link up your ideas through the whole week and win prizes. That’s how much we love our readers and value summertime learning!