Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Looking at Learning ... Again


Tune in to the Moon

Moon Journal -- Instructions

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Materials: drawing paper and pencil, directional compass, notebook

  1. Choose a location convenient to your home or work with as clear a view as possible of the southern sky. (Use a compass to locate south. If you do not have a compass, call the direction of the setting Sun west, and then approximate south.) When facing south, you should be able to look east (to your left) and west (to your right) without any major obstacles blocking your view.
  2. You should make all of your Moon observations from the same location. To help you find this location each time you make an observation, identify the location by pushing a stick or stone into the ground or by making a scratch or chalk mark on a paved surface.
  3. Make an Observation Sheet. On a plain sheet of paper, draw the horizon you see while standing in your location and looking south. Place south in the center of your drawing, and include anything that falls into your field of view (buildings, trees, hills, etc.) These landmarks will provide you with reference points when you draw the Moon's position.
  4. Choose a specific time to make your observations and make all your Moon observations within the same 30-minute period every evening. (If you're not sure when to make your observations, refer to an almanac to find the time of moonrise and moonset. You also may be able to find this information on a calendar. Moon observations can be started any time during the sequence of the Moon's phases.) If you cannot observe every evening, we recommend that you observe at least four times per week.
  5. For each observation, draw the Moon on your Observation Sheet, recording both its position in the sky as well as its apparent shape. Write the date next to each drawing of the Moon.
  6. After you have observed the Moon, make an entry in a notebook, or Moon Journal. Record the date, time, apparent shape of the Moon, and anything interesting or unusual you observe about the Moon or the sky. You should also take some time to write a few reflections, such as what you saw, what you think about what you saw, what questions you have, what you've learned. We will suggest some Moon Journal questions in each workshop, but you should not feel obliged to answer the questions we provide. Write about what moves you, and remember to consider your own learning process.
  7. Bring your Observation Sheet and Moon Journal with you to each workshop and discuss your findings with your colleagues, when time allows. Also, record your new ideas and questions on the Moon Chart at each workshop.
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