This lesson can be used as part of your unit on reproduction, a stand alone lesson to practice collecting and analyzing data, or as part of a math lesson on statistics. This lesson can be extended in several different ways: you can add graphing, plotting data using a stem and leaf (link) for the dates, finding min, max, mode, averages, etc…
The students enjoy this lesson because it is a fun way to analyze their birthdays and many students didn’t know what day of the week they were born on.
Moon Phase Finder Template– glue onto paper plate, cut out center
Birthday Moons – this is a classic lesson that has I have used over the years. I made a Birthday Moon Phases worksheet (pdf) for my students to use based on the original lesson (as of Aug. 6, 2018 – the original lesson is no longer posted on their website). We did this activity prior to the phases sort above.
As part of our study about the moon, we have been observing the moon and practicing moon phase identification. For the activity pictured above, students were given a moon phase finder, and laminated cards containing images of the phases of the moon, descriptions of phases, and the names of the phases. The handout included matching the names of phases and their descriptions and the template to create the moon phases flip book. Instead of stapling the flip book when done, we used a rubber band to secure one end.
For the lesson, I started with a demonstration/explanation. Students would sort and match the cards first and then call me over to verify the phases when they were done. They self checked the descriptions by using the matching worksheet. I posted an answer key in the front of the room where they verified their answers/made corrections. Next, they used the cards to help them identify the 29 phases of the flip book. When done, they self check the phases with my answer key in the front of the room. Afterwards, they cut and assembled the flip book. I had small plastic bags and rubber bands for them to take home their pieces if they did not finish during the class period.
I use the phrase “Wax on, Wane off” to practice identification. When the moon is waxing, the right side is getting brighter/larger, when it is waning, the left side is getting smaller/dimmer. (From where we are in the Northern Hemisphere)
Also: “Light-Left-Last-Quarter” to help differentiate between First and Third/Last Quarter Phases