Phases of the Moon

Last night my students finished their observation of moon phases, and Monday they will be turning in their journals. This year I had them start on the night of the full moon, knowing that would be an easy one for them to identify. I also have cut the project down to just three weeks rather than a whole month -- it's hard for third graders to go that long!

I introduce moon phases with a short video clip from Discovery Education that shows the phases and gives them the vocabulary, then give each student this little journal.

They watch the sky, filling in the date that they see each of these phases.

This past week we went a little bit farther with the phases, using oreo cookies. The packages of double stuff oreos have been sitting on a shelf since the beginning of the year, and student kept asking when we were going to eat them! They were so excited to come in on Wednesday morning and see plates, knives and packages of cookies on the table. Finding out we weren't eating them was a bit of a letdown, until I told them what we WERE doing with them :) They were quickly on board.

After several years of doing this, I've learned how to make it pretty simple. Each student gets four double stuff cookies -- I used to use regular ones, but it is so much easier to have thicker filling. They carefully twist them apart and we use both parts -- I show them how to carefully take filling off one side and place it on the other so there is no wasted cookie.

They had so much fun, and I heard a lot of comments connecting the activity to what they were seeing in the moon observations. And our classroom smelled wonderfully of cookies all day :)

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