Reviewed by: Shelley (Memphis, TN) on 9/8/2019 12:26:11 PM
I like this activity, but it is missing the picture or other clickable aspects that make it interactive for the student and usable for the classroom.
MS-ESS1-1 Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.
Clarification Statement: Examples of models can be physical, graphical, or conceptual.
Assessment Boundary: none
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.
Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In this simulation, students use an interactive model to investigate the cyclic patterns of lunar phases. Since MS-ESS1-1 includes model development, students would need to design their own model to meet the Performance Expectation. To achieve this, teachers may want to provide styrofoam balls and flashlights to their students and encourage them to create a kinesthetic model that mimics the on-line simulation. This site does not deal with eclipses or seasons.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.
Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Lunar Phases is an interactive simulation that allows students to study the cyclic nature of the Moon's rotation around Earth. Please note, that in these activities, students are not developing their own model. In order to fulfill the requirements of the Practice, students will need to create their own model which can then be used to explain phases. As mentioned above, teachers could provide students with styrofoam balls and flashlights and then challenge their students with developing just such a model.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.
Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Activities 1 and 2 of Lunar Phases require students to align shadows and determine the appearance of the Moon at selected locations in its orbit around the Earth. This should lead students to the dual conclusions that the Moon is always half illuminated by the Sun and that the cyclic nature of lunar phases is due to the Moon’s location relative to Earth. Unfortunately, Activity 3, which uses these conclusions as the basis for a simulation, does not allow for user input. To ensure that students do not become passive observers, teachers should construct questions that can be answered by the simulation. For example, students may be tasked with discussing why the New Moon is not visible to observers on Earth or why different halves of the Moon are illuminated for the First and Third Quarters.
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.
Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The simulation found in Activity 3 does not allow students to enter data or change variables. Therefore, once students appear to understand that lunar phases are a result of a cyclic change in the Moon’s position relative to Earth, teachers may want to administer a pen and paper summative assessment using various geometric alignments of the Sun-Earth-Moon. Students would then be required to use their knowledge of the patterns gained in the activities to predict lunar phases.