Moon Phases

Activity: Fishing for Phases


In this variation of the classic card game “Go Fish”, children reinforce their knowledge of Moon phase names, the lunar phase cycle, and its sequential pattern.

The Activity

There are many possible variations on this game!

Divide children into groups of 4 to 6 players. Distribute 16 index cards for each player. Invite the players to color and label the eight phases of the Moon on their index cards, making two complete sets of Moon Phases. Have the children combine one set of Moon Phases from each of them; shuffle these and place them in the “Moon Pond” in the middle. Then have them collect the second set to shuffle and deal to the players, with each player receiving eight cards.

The object of the game is to collect as many pairs of phases as possible until all cards are gone, or the allotted time has expired. As in the card game “Go Fish,” each player in turn asks the child to their left for the cards they need to make pairs. If their neighbor does not have the requested card, they must “go fish” in the Moon Pond. As pairs are matched, they are placed in a pile to the side of the player. The children should ask for Moon phases by name (“Do you have a waning gibbous?”)

When a child collects all 8 sets, they call out “Month of Moons!” and place them in the correct sequential order to win!


Last updated
January 9, 2007


Ages 8–12

How Long?
45 minutes

What's Needed?

For each child:

• 16 unlined index cards
• A pencil, black colored crayon, or black marker
• Optional: 8 different colors of pencils or markers for making each phase a different color

Connections to the National Science Standard(s)

Standard D (grades K–4): Understand the pattern of movement of the Moon across the sky, as well as the observable cycle of changes in the Moon's shape within a month.

Standard D (grades 5–8): Understand how objects in the solar system have regular and predictable motion that explains such phenomena as phases of the Moon.