A-Waxing and A-Waning By: Katie Eckleberry 10/11/09
Standard 3: The Physical Setting Indicator 6.3.3: Explain that the Earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun, and that the moon, as well as many artificial satellites and debris, orbit around the Earth. (Core Standard) Taken from: http://dc.doe.in.gov/Standards/AcademicStandards/StandardSearch.aspx Link to Activity: http://dc.doe.in.gov/Standards/AcademicStandards/StandardSearch.aspx
Definitions Waxing: (of the moon) to increase in the extent of its illuminated portion before the full moon. Waning: (of the moon) to decrease periodically in the extent of its illuminated portion after the full moon. Illuminated: to supply or brighten with light; light up. Lunar Cycle: a means of establishing a calendar that is based on the cycles of the Moon. Taken from: http://dictionary.reference.com/
Background Information: As the moon circles the Earth, the shape of the moon appears to change; this is because different amounts of the illuminated part of the moon are facing us. The shape varies from a full moon (when the Earth is between the sun and the moon) to a new moon (when the moon is between the sun and the Earth). The purpose of this activity is to model the phases of the moon caused by the moon’s orbit around the Earth.
Materials: Lamp with light bulb (with shade) Polystyrene ball with diameter of 6cm or greater Pencil Paper Copy Moon Phases Sheet (All of these items are provided in the Waxing/Waning kit provided by your USI instructor)
Think About the Following Before Starting: When you look at the night sky, does the moon look the same every night? Why? When the moon changes, you are seeing the moon’s phases, which are the different shapes the moon appears to have as it is viewed from Earth.
Activity/ Procedure: Take the ball from the kit and place it on the point of the pencil. Place the lamp in an area where you can walk around it. Turn the lamp on and the lights off in the classroom. The light bulb will act as the sun, the ball will be the moon, and you will act as planet Earth. Place the ball arms length between you and the bulb.
Procedure Continued: Hold the “moon” so that you can see it and the sun. The sunlight is falling on the far side of the moon, which is not visible to you, this creates the dark “new moon” phase. Now move your hands counterclockwise (left) about 45 degrees and observe the sunlight on your moon as you move. Notice that the right hand edge is illuminated as a crescent. The crescent starts out very thin and becomes larger as the moon moves farther away from the sun.
Procedure Continued (2): Now move your moon until it reaches 90 degrees to your left. The right half of the moon will be illuminated. This is the first quarter. Remember that one-half of the moon is illuminated at all times, but the illuminated portion that we an see changes as the moon changes position. Now face away form the sun and hold your moon so that it is directly opposite the light and the light is able to shine on it. This is the full moon, it takes the moon about two weeks to move from new to full. The growth in illumination is know as waxing.
Procedure Continued (3): Now switch the pencil to your right hand and face in the general direction of the sun. Start with the moon at full moon phase. Continue moving your moon in a counterclockwise direction. It is a thinning crescent and then goes back to new moon. As it moves from full to new moon position the moon wanes, meaning the visible illumination steadily decreases. Now you have completed the full lunar cycle, this cycle takes the moon about 28 days to complete.
Closing Activity: Now take out the moon phases sheet from the activity kit. Compare the diagram to the moon phases that you have just created. Now repeat the moon phases using the moon phases sheet as a guide. Now that you have practiced the phases of the moon, you will be able to determine where the moon is at in it’s cycle when you view the moon at night. Share your new moon knowledge with your family!!
Fun Facts about the Moon: 1. When we see the moon, we are looking at the part of the moon that is reflecting light from the sun. 2. It takes the moon an average of 29.5 days to orbit the Earth. 3. If the moon is SMALLER than a QUARTER, we call it CRESCENT. 4. If the moon is BIGGER than a QUARTER, we call it GIBBOUS. 5. When the moon is GETTING BIGGER, it is WAXING. [ The part of the moon that we see will appear to be the RIGHT side of the moon.] 6. When the moon is GETTING SMALLER, it is WANING. [The part of the moon that we see will appear to be the LEFT side of the moon.] 7. If the CRESCENT of the moon LOOKS LIKE THE LETTER C, the moon is SHRINKING (WANING). 8. If the CRESCENT of the moon CURVES LIKE THE LETTER D, the moon is getting bigger (Waxing). 9. The New Moon can hardly be seen. 10.The Full Moon is as big as the moon can get. http://www.k111.k12.il.us/king/phases_of_the_moon.htm#Fact