Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teaching Moon Phases With Oreo Cookies - Apologia Exploring Creation With Astronomy

I absolutely love Apologia's Young Explorer series and plan to use it throughout my children's education as their science curriculum.  The thing I like about Apologia is that it really digs deep into each subject and presents all science in light of God's glory.  This year we are using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy.
Apologia's Young Explorer Series
All year we have learned about the planets, stars, and how the heaven's declare God's glory.  Chapter 6 is a study of our moon.  Just for fun I decided to help the children remember all the phases of the moon by using Oreo cookies.  Below is an outline of the activity:

What you will need:
A pack of Oreo Cookies -we like the double stuffed :-)
A small plastic knife or Popsicle stick for younger children
Paper Plates
A picture showing all 8 phases of the moon for reference

1. First we took one side off of each cookie and ate them (yum-yum).  This left us with a cookie with the cream on it.
2. Then based off of the 8 phases we attempted to scrape off the cream to coincide with the appropriate stage. This is where you get cookie casualties because if your hand is heavy you can break your cookie in half.  Try explaining that to a 3 year old that just wants to keep breaking his cookies.
3. Then have everyone draw the earth in the middle of the plate.
4. After preparing each phase we placed them in order around the paper plate.
5. Then we used squeezable frosting to "glue" the cookie moons around the plate
6. After each moon was glued my oldest proceeded to write the name of each phase above, below, or to the side of each moon.
7. I verbally discussed the significance of what we had done with the 3 and 4 year old children.

Together we discussed how the moon appears to change shape in our sky.  However, the moon itself never disappears but only reflects the light from our sun based upon it's position.  This was a fun activity and after sharing our project with Dad once he came home we proceeded to eat our project after dinner :-)

There are many websites that have this experiment.  Below are just a few:
Paper Plate Education
Science Bob
Learning Encounters

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