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Loony Lunar Phases

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Learners hear a story, song, or (silly or serious) poem that celebrates the Moon's different phases.

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  • Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
    Participants Learned from This Activity 
    Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
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Related Programming Resources

Originating Source Lunar and Planetary Instute
NASAWavelength.org
Related Books
[Suggest a book]
The Moon: Earth's Neighbor by David Jefferis ISBN: 9780778737315

Reviews

 
Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
04/20/2018

Delicious and messy

This is a fun project that makes a delicious point in teaching the phases of the moon. The kids had a blast making the project- especially eating the unused portions of the moon.

Some notes: This is messy! Be prepared for lots of cookie crumbs and smeared filling after the program. Also, I did this as a library program, so I gave parents advanced notice that cookies were part of the science; they appreciated the warning :) It also happens to have plenty of extra cookies on hand. I gave the kids two cookies just to eat, so their moons weren't as tempting.


Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
03/14/2018

Easy and tasty way to explore moon phases!

We offered this activity during our International Observe the Moon Night 2017 program. It was easy and accessible for all attendees and created a great visual for younger learners. A great way to incorporate STEM learning into snack time!

Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
03/05/2018

Fun and Yummy Way to Learn the Moon Phases

I used this activity along with two others (Penny Moon and Moon Mythbusters) for a family library event for the Super Blue Blood Moon in January of 2018. The participants ranged in age from preschool through middle school and were accompanied by their caregivers.

This was the third and final activity for my event. We had already briefly talked about the different shapes of the moon, so instead of asking the questions as posed in step number 1, I showed this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXe0yxzYkjo. The activity write up clearly states that it is not meant to model why the moon has phases, but I really wanted to give that information and I think this video has a very clear and concise explanation.

I purchased store brand sandwich cookies because they were cheaper than Oreo brand and they worked well. As part of my prep work, I put six cookies in a baggie for each child registered. I also made sure to have plenty of extra cookies on hand in case the cookies would break when twisting them apart. I found that using a plastic knife was most effective to shape the cream filling. I printed out the Cookie Moon Phases page for each child and most used the paper as sort of a plate, putting the finished cookie onto the appropriate phase on the paper.

The activity guide recommended reading a book while the kids were working, but I had them give me the words needed to complete the “Moon in My Own Words” poetry template instead. As I walked around the room, I asked different kids to give me the words for each line. When I had the finished poem, I got the group’s attention and read it aloud. All the kids had been given a blank poetry template and some of them worked on their poems during the event, and some took them home. This was our last activity for the event and I needed to be mindful of the time.

When the kids asked if they could eat their cookies, I deferred to their caregivers, letting them know they could take their cookies home in the plastic bag they were distributed in.

This activity was the most costly of the three activities, though it was still very reasonable for a large group. I purchased the cookies, zipper sandwich bags, and plastic knives. I also made a copy of the Cookie Moon Phase sheet and Moon in My Own Words template for each child.

Rating 
Participants Enjoyed the Activity 
Participants Learned from This Activity 
Activity Instructions Were Clear and Easy to Follow 
Would Recommend 
02/16/2018

‘Loony’ is perfectly on point!

This program is a glorious riot … so long as you’re not the one taking the kids home afterward! By which I mean, if you turn around for a fraction of a second, those Oreos disappear awfully quickly when you’re running a makerspace program full of seven-year-olds and their younger siblings. If you’re running this program, as we did, in tandem with other activities and crafts I highly recommend executing “Loony Lunar Phases” last, so that the sugar craze and the sugar coma afterward come tumbling down outside of the library space.

I would also note that the Sky Tellers resources included in this activity proved very useful indeed, but need to be thoroughly absorbed ahead of time so that the information can be unloaded gracefully, flexibly, and in a way that makes sense—all while small children are licking cookies behind your back.

We did not have any of the books referenced in the activity sheet in our library collection, but we did draw on Rémi Courgeon’s “Many Moons” (for our youngest participants) and “Full Moon Lore” by Ellen Wahi and Ashley Stewart. The latter book contains the names for all the monthly full moons (some of which I had forgotten, such as February being the month of the “Snow Moon”) and a glossary of moon facts at the end. We found the illustrations in that book really captivated the kids and their parents. Between the two books and the “Penny Moon” activity included in the activity sheet, we felt that the children received the perfect amount of information, and those who were hungry for more were eager for more fun facts from the Sky Tellers resources.

A couple of side notes:
- Plastic knives are about the worst possible tool for scraping Oreo filling off of a cookie. The crenelated edge makes a mess and leaves lots of the filling behind. We recommend heavier metal knives if you can get ahold of them, or smooth-edged scrapers of some sort.
- Print off a “Cookie Moon Chart” for each kiddo. You might even laminate them so that you can wash them for reuse. We recommend one per kid as our single example got a little “careworn” as it was shuffled around endlessly on the table. The kiddos love having a concrete model to follow, and this handout (linked from the activity page) really does the trick.
- The other handouts (“Moon in My Own Words” and “Phrases for Phases”) proved more popular with the adults than with the kiddos. We did not have any teens or older kids, however, so we were not able to field test them with every age group.
- Instead of holding this activity in sequence with the “Moon Mythbusters” activity (as is suggested), we held them on the same day. If you do the same, we highly recommend you do the Oreos after everything else, as you *will* lose them to the sugar rush/crash afterward.
- We were not able to obtain gluten-free or allergen-free substitutes from the grocery stores in town. They exist … but they are not, apparently, easy to access in rural Montana. We highly recommend you pursue this option if you are expecting a large crowd or if your regulars have any allergies, as it’s a cruel form of punishment to watch other children munching delicious things and be banned from it yourself.

All in all, food-based children’s programs are wonderful, and this was no exception. The materials make sense with the function they are performing, and the children certainly had loads of fun.

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Loony Lunar Phases

Loony Lunar Phases

Learners hear a story, song, or (silly or serious) poem that celebrates the Moon's different phases.