STEAM Learning Lab – Moon Phases

Moon Cycle Mobile

Tuesday, April 7th will have the first full moon of Spring 2020! It will appear at roughly the same time as flowers are blooming and therefore is nicknamed the “pink moon.” We are going to do a creative project today to learn more about the lunar cycle and make some wall art at the same time!

Materials:

● White Clay or Salt Dough(see the Salt Dough Recipe at the end of this Science Learning Lab!)
● Yarn or thick string
● Roller
● Drinking glass
● Black paint
● Foil(optional)
● Baking sheet Pencil
Lunar cycle chart

Directions:

  1. Take Clay or Salt Dough and Roll it out so that it is about a quarter of an inch thick

  2. Using drinking glass, cut out 8 circles
  3. Poke a hole at the top and bottom of each circle with pencil. Make sure hole is wide enough for string to pass through
  4. Take the leftover salt dough or clay and make a bead by rolling it into a circle, and poking a hole through it
  5. Bake circles according to material instructions, or let air dry if using air dry clay
  6. Look at this moon cycle chart and notice the lunar phases
  7. Since our clay is white, we going to use the black paint to show the night's sky.
  8. First, paint a circle half black, with the black on the left, so that it matches the “first quarter” stage
  9. Next, paint a circle mostly black, leaving a white sliver on the right, so that it matches the “waxing crescent” stage
  10. Paint a circle all black so it matches the “new moon” stage
  11. Paint a circle mostly black, leaving a small white sliver on the left, so it matches the “waning crescent” stage
  12. Paint a circle half black, with the black on the right, so it matches the “last quarter stage”
  13. Paint a circle with a sliver of black on the right side so it matches the “waning gibbous” stage
  14. The next circle is the full moon so don’t paint that one
  15. Paint the last circle with a small sliver of black on the left so it matches the “waxing gibbous” stage. Optional: put some black paint on a plate. Make the foil into a ball and use the foil to dab at the white parts of the circles, to show the moons shadows
  16. Let the circles dry for an hour, then paint the other side if you want to hang it and have it turn.
  17. Line up all of your circles in order. Tie some string between each moon phase, and the one that comes after it.
  18. Tie some string at the top and leave one end untied so you can hang the mobile.
  19. Tie some string at the bottom, and put your homemade bead on the other side to help weigh the mobile down or put it on top!

Salt Dough Recipe: 2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water

Mix all the ingredients, stir by hand or gently mix in stand mixer.
Let circles air dry for 2 days or bake circles in 200 degree oven for 2-3 hours, checking on them often.

More Fun:

●  Stay up late and see the April Full Moon! It is supposed to be a Super Moon, and astronomers predict the best time to see it will be at 10:37 pm.

●  Make a moon drawing! Go outside during the full moon, taking some crayons and paper with you. Turn off all the lights and draw a picture using only the light of the moon. Look at the picture when you go inside-does it look different than you expected?

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