Wait, What Are The Major Phases Of The Moon Again?
The first phase of the Moon is the New Moon. This occurs when the Moon is positioned between the Sun and the Earth, with its dark side facing towards us. During this phase, the Moon is not visible in the night sky.
The next phase is the Waxing Crescent. As the Moon orbits the Earth, it becomes visible as a thin crescent shape in the sky. This phase occurs when the Moon is between a New Moon and a First Quarter Moon.
The Third phase is the First Quarter Moon, during this phase we can only see half of the moon from Earth. The right-hand side of the Moon is illuminated by the Sun and the left-hand side is in darkness.
The fourth phase is the Waxing Gibbous, which occurs when the Moon is between a First Quarter and Full Moon. The Moon appears as more than half but less than fully illuminated in the sky.
The Fifth phase is the Full Moon. It occurs when the Moon is positioned on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. The entire visible side of the Moon is illuminated by the Sun’s light.
The sixth phase is the Waning Gibbous, which occurs when the Moon is between a Full Moon and Third Quarter Moon. The Moon appears as more than half but less than fully illuminated in the sky, but in the opposite direction of the Waxing Gibbous phase.
The seventh phase is the Last Quarter Moon or Third Quarter moon. During this phase, the Moon appears as a half-moon shape in the sky, but again in the opposite direction of the First Quarter Moon. The left-hand side of the Moon is illuminated by the Sun and the right-hand side is in darkness.
The eighth and final phase is the Waning Crescent. It occurs when the Moon is between a Third Quarter and New Moon. The Moon appears as a thin crescent shape in the sky, but in the opposite direction of the Waxing Crescent phase.
How To Prepare Your Student For The Oreo Cookie Moon Activity
To make this science activity fun and educational, your child will need to have a grasp on how the moon changes and why it changes.
You can check out library books and/or watch the above Youtube video together to learn all the terms.
Here are three big ones to know:
- Waxing: the moon is appearing larger as more of it is illuminated
- Waning: the moon is appearing smaller as less of it is illuminated
- Gibbous: the lit portion of the moon is larger than semi-circle but smaller than a full circle
If you want to get really hands-on, you could put your kids in a dark room. Turn on a lamp and have a globe and ball of foil to act as your moon.
Have your kids hold the earth and “moon” as they rotate around the lamp. This is a great visual to show your child that the moon isn’t actually changing shape. We are only seeing the part that the sun has lit.
To take it a step further, go outside at night and try to identify what phase the moon is currently in using your own charts.
You will only need a couple of things at the grocery store:
- Paper Plate
- Plastic knife or popsicle stick
- 7 Oreos for each child (they make gluten-free now!)
- Oreo Cookie Printables (link to print at bottom of the post)
These optional items are only for if you plan to use the word bank.
Instructions And Tips For Oreo Cookie Edible Astronomy Activity
Now that you have your supplies, make sure that each of your children has 7 oreo cookies, a plate, a plastic knife, and a worksheet.
****You don’t need 8 cookies because the New Moon doesn’t need any filling. Just use one of the leftover parts of the cookie that is twisted off.
Show the child how to gently twist each cookie apart so that most of the creme filling stays on one side.
Use the plastic knife to carve a portion of the frosting away to reveal different shapes of the moon.
I would recommend starting with the easiest shape of the moon to help your student get familiar with the materials and avoid frustration. To make the First Quarter, all the child has to do is make a line down the cream filling and scrape half of it away.
From there, the child will be able to start working on more oreo moon creations, such as the crescent moon, gibbous moon, etc.
Encourage the child to put the extra frosting on the paper plate instead of in their mouth. Provide paper towels and wet wipes for sticky fingers.
Assure them that they can eat their oreo moon phases once the project is complete.
Once the student has completed the oreo phases of the moon, they can label each phase.
Check Out Your Own Delicious Phases of the Moon Guide:
If the student struggled through the project, be sure to review the concept with them. Consider watching the Homeschool Pop video with them again, pausing it at each phase to make their own oreo version.