Keep a Moon Journal

National Wildlife Federation
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Data , Activity
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



The National Wildlife Federation's "Keep a Moon Journal" page allows students to get acquainted with the phases of the moon by keeping a moon journal to record their nightly observations for one month. The page has links to diagrams, a student printable, and activities connecting the journal to other content. The page is set up as a "family activity" and could be used as nightly homework for students then discussed weekly in class. 

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Elementary School
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

1-ESS1-1 Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include that the sun and moon appear to rise in one part of the sky, move across the sky, and set; and stars other than our sun are visible at night but not during the day.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of star patterns is limited to stars being seen at night and not during the day.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
To address the entire Performance Eexpectation, this journal should be a part of a unit that allows students to make observations of the sun and stars as well. In addition when using this journal, at least one month is needed for students to record information before using it to predict future patterns.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
It is suggested that students use their journals to share their observations at the end of the month and/or throughout the month. In addition, students could make predictions based on their journal for the following month and see if those predictions were accurate.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This activity focused on the observation aspect of this Core Idea. However, a teacher could easily expand the lesson to include opportunities for students to describe patterns they are seeing and make predictions about the next month's moon patterns based on what they've already recorded.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
To fulfill this Crosscutting Concept, the teacher should ensure that students use their collected nightly data to describe patterns of the moon and make predictions. Solely collecting the data is not sufficient for addressing patterns. The teacher should use questions ("Do you see any patterns in your data?" or "What do you notice about your observations over the month?") to check for understanding .

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The activity plan, along with the links to related resources ensure that the Moon Journal Activity is strongly aligned to the Dimensions of the NGSS.

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson provides real-world connections for all learners. Everything a teacher would need to implement this is on the webpage. There are links to the Farmer's Almanac, printable moon journals, images of students completing the activity and questions a teacher or parent could ask.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: While there is not a progress monitoring tool built into this activity, a teacher could easily collect weekly sheets or monitor student progress towards a month of observations.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Links are provided on the webpage that include diagrams, charts and information. The page can be accessed via computer or tablet.