Phases of the Moon

A. Wills
Multiple Subject Teacher

Students will create a foldable to help remember the phases of the moon.

Grade Level: 2nd Grade

Subject: Science

Length of Time: 20 - 30 Minutes

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Objectives & Outcomes

Students will be able to identify and draw each phase of the moon.

Materials Needed

  • Long, wide strips of paper (1 per student)
  • Markers/colored pencils/crayons
  • List of moon phases


Opening to Lesson

Begin by asking students if they have ever looked at the moon at night. Ask if they have ever noticed that each night the moon looks a bit different. Sometimes it seems like the moon has gone dark, but some nights it is bright and full. The changes in the way the moon looks are called phases. These phases occur because the earth is moving and so is the moon and we can only see certain parts of the moon as everything moves.

Body of Lesson

  • Have students take the long strip of paper and fold it back and forth to create 8 equal squares (illustrated below). Have students label each square as follows: Full moon, Gibbous moon, Half moon, Crescent moon, Gibbous moon, Half moon, Crescent moon, New moon. Each of these appear differently in the sky depending on where the moon is in the phases.
  • A full moon is completely bright and lit up, have students draw this in the square that they labelled full moon. The next one, a gibbous moon is ¾ lit, but the rest is black (typically the right side is dark after a full moon). Half moon has the right side black when going in order, The crescent moon has only a sliver lit on the left side. Help students by demonstrating on the board so they may draw. Now explain the lit and dark side of the moon change positions during the second half of the phases, again draw the gibbous moon, half moon, and crescent moon. Have students figure out what a new moon would look like if the full moon is the opposite. Draw it.


Have students fold the strip back together to have a little flip book as reference. Ask students to go out each night that week and try to figure out what phase the moon is in or should be in each night.

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Assessment & Evaluation

Students will show understanding by drawing and properly labeling each moon phase with 90% accuracy.

Modification & Differentiation

 Offer pre-labelled strips that just need drawings added.

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