Lunar and Planetary Institute

What If There Was No Moon?
EXPLORE! To the Moon and Beyond with NASA's LRO Mission

What If There Was No Moon

Earth's Bright Neighbor
Children ages 8 to 13 select from a variety of fruits to construct a scale model of the Moon, Earth, and Sun. After determining the correct sizes and distances for their models, they remove the Moon. They consider what it would be like if the nearby Moon were no longer reflecting the Sun's light in the nighttime or daytime sky. Allow 30 minutes for this activity.

Loony Lunar Phases
Children ages 8 to 11 discover the Moon's influence on our culture through this 30-minute, light-hearted investigation of lunar phases. The children hear a story, song, or (silly or serious) poem that celebrates the Moon's different phases. They recreate the shapes of the lunar phases using the frosting from Oreo® cookies, and then they place them in correct order to reveal the repeating pattern. As they eat the cookies, they consider how our culture would differ without the Moon changing shape in the sky over time. They use words inspired by the Moon to either complete a crossword puzzle or write a short poem.

Lunar Phases: A Dance under the Sun
Children ages 10 to 13 perform the lunar phases outdoors, using a Styrofoam ball, sunlight, and the motions of their bodies to model the Moon's phases. Intermediate children (ages 10 to 11) note the names of the phases by singing Phrases for Phases, which is sung to the tune of The Ants Go Marching. Older children (12 to 13) predict future Moon phases. Allow 20-30 minutes for this activity.

Dance of the Moon and Oceans
In part A, children ages 10 to 13 discover how the Moon's gravitational pull causes the level of the ocean to rise and fall twice a day along most coastlines. Six children represent the oceans, solid Earth, Moon, and Sun and move their bodies to show the interactions of these elements. In part B, they consider what the Earth's tides might have been like if there were no Moon. They model the smaller tides that would be produced solely by the Sun. Allow 30 minutes for this activity.


Last updated
August 31, 2010

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