Science Shorts: Taking a Look at the Moon

Journal Article by: Craig R. Leager Digital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

The communication skills of reading and writing go hand in hand with science as natural partners for fostering students’ understandings of the world. The similarities that exist between reading and writing strategies and science-process skills add depth to instruction when these subject areas are brought together. In the following unit of study, students use science-process skills as they observe and record changes in the Moon’s appearance. Their growing knowledge of the Moon and its phases is strengthened through reading and writing strategies.

  • Elementary

A selection from Science and Children—November 2007

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Reviews (4)
  • on Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:42 PM

This article covers a long term lesson on the phases of the moon for upper elementary grades. The lesson integrates reading and writing as student develop their scientific inquiry skills. This is a great unit in helping students understand the value of observation and patterns and that it takes time to complete an experiment. The author uses all of the 5E’s in this lesson. I wished that this lesson was also geared more to different learning styles and differentiate. For students that struggle with writing, maybe providing sentence starters for each of the daily journal activities might be helpful. Also, giving students the opportunity to perform the different phases of the moon might be helpful especial for the early grade level students. I like how the author incorporates and highlight scientific terminology throughout the lesson. He also provides many opportunities for group work and discussion with small and big groups.


  • on Fri May 04, 2012 1:17 PM

Understanding the changes in the moon’s image is something that is best understood by students in middle school. However, observing the changes are more appropriate for the younger student. This 5E model lesson is good and it also makes use of an interactive notebook. The use of both makes this a great activity to use with upper elementary students. At that grade level I would also use a reading book to introduce the unit.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:56 AM

I found this journal to be scientific with lots of information that helped me understand the moon phase process. Personally, I will not be able to go into as much depth when doing a lesson on moon phases with my first graders. However, I still find the material helpful that way I can be sure I have my facts straight. The terminology is helpful for any teacher who may need a refresher or a resource to help develop their own lesson.

Jacob R  (Bennington, VT)
Jacob R (Bennington, VT)

  • on Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:17 PM

The article includes a description of a long term project organized as a lesson plan about the phases of the moon that includes significant writing in a prescribed way so that students learn to communicate with each other about observations, etc. in writing.

Bambi Bailey  (Tyler, TX)
Bambi Bailey (Tyler, TX)

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