My Moon Tracker

Activity Time: 10 - 15 minutes for 30 days
Recommended Grades: Pre-K - 2
Objectives: A pattern is something that repeats over and over. We can identify patterns in terms of colors and shapes, but there are also patterns we can observe in the sky. In fact, we can not only see patterns in the way the sun, moon, and stars move but we can also predict them! Track the way the moon looks over the next thirty days. After tracking how it appears in the sky, notice whether or not you see any patterns.

  • Pencil
  • Monthly Moon Tracker Sheet
  1. Grown-ups: Get an empty calendar page or make a Monthly Moon Tracker sheet (draw a grid of 6 squares across by 5 vertical squares).
  2. When the moon appears in the sky, draw the shape of the moon in the square for that day.
  3. Follow up each new day by making a different picture of the moon in the sky at night.
  4. As you slowly start filling in your tracker, do you notice any patterns starting to form?

Every 29.53 days, the moon orbits the Earth. This is described as the lunar month. As the moon travels through this journey, it also goes through all of its phases. These different ways the moon looks throughout the month are a result of the way the moon is facing Earth as it is also being lit by the sun. If we take a look at the image below, we can see that only one side of the moon is ever lit at a time. But this side of the moon is not always facing Earth! So, we sometimes will see only a small sliver, or crescent moon, of the illuminated side. Other times, we see the entire illuminated side. These phases also follow a large pattern which we can predict and observe over time. Did you see the pattern?

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