image of the Moon rising over Earth's atmosphereEarth-Moon Institute for Teachers


Gallery of Work from June 2008 Institute

Participant Hypotheses

Why Does the Moon have Phases?  (before workshop activities)

  • I think the moon has phases because of the moon’s orbit of the earth.
  • The Moon’s phases are the part of the illuminated side of the moon that we on Earth see at various points of the Moon’s orbit (revolution) around Earth.
  • I think phases are caused by the reflection of the Sun’s light off the Moon as it orbits the Earth.  The amount of light that can be reflected in its orbit determines the phases.
  • I think the moon has phases because the Earth is in front of the moon and blocking the sun’s rays at different angles. 
    (Sun)  (Earth)  (Moon)
  • I think the lunar cycle, or phases of the moon are formed as the light from the Sun reflects off the moon’s surface toward the Earth as the moon revolves or orbits the Earth.
  • The moon has phases because as the earth rotates on its axis and as the moon revolves around the earth, we see how light shines differently on the moon.
  • If the moon revolves around the earth as the sun shines on one complete side of the moon, then depending on the moon’s position only the “lit” portion of the moon will be visible from Earth making the different phases.
  • I think the moon has phases because at different points in the moon orbiting the Earth the light that is produced by the Sun on the Earth’s surface is in different amounts.  The illumination or lack of illumination is what produces phases.
  • The moon has phases because as the moon revolves around the earth light from the sun is reflected off it if the earth is not blocking the light.
  • The moon’s orbit around the earth causes different amounts of sunlight reflected off the moon.
  • The phases of the earth are caused by the light of the sun, shining on the earth.

Why does the moon look the way it does? (before workshop activities)

  • The moon looks different because it has different chemical compositions.
  • I think the moon looks like it has dark patches because those areas have more iron?  Than the other areas…
  • Light areas are more spotted with craters and streaked with rays from central crater; dark areas are generally smoother—less marked—are generally round; dark areas could be filled in areas: Dark areas= basalt; light = rhyolite
  • The moon looks like it does because different objects reflect light better or worse based on chemical composition and location
  • Depending on the composition of the different areas on the moon, different areas reflect light differently which causes us to see brighter and darker areas (those in between)
  • The moon looks dark in areas because it contains different minerals and different altitudes
  • I think the moon’s surface looks the way it does due to meteor impacts & past volcanic activity.  I think moon rock might be basalt & rhyolite in composition
  • I think the moon looks the way it does because of the processes that it goes through.  It has a rock cycle, it is hit by comets & other things.

How did the different parts of the Moon form? (before workshop activities)

  • Basalts: lava flows occurred first (reason for elevation difference); anorthocite lava flows occurred second; olivine deep in moon’s crust was revealed/ exposed 3rd with the impact of meteors
  • The color depends on mineral it contains.  The anorthocite 4.2 (billion years old) cooled inside large crystals; the basalt like on earth is more recent.
  • Basalt is formed in areas that are deeper (like the dark areas that we see on the moon) Anorthcite is formed on the areas that are close to the surface of the moon. Olivine is formed in areas deeper than the basalt
  • Basalt is present due to volcano activity; anorthosite –there is a lot of plagioclase on the moon surface; olivine-there is a lot  (not) of iron on the moon.