Celestial Mechanics: Earth, Sun and Moon
Today’s lesson focused on celestial mechanics, or the interactions between the Earth, Sun and Moon. We talked about the Moon, Earth’s only natural satellite. Students investigated in-depth the 8 phases of the Moon and learned an easy mnemonic device “DOC” to help identify between the increasing (waxing) and fading (waning) sunlight on the moon. Also, students were able to differentiate between pictures of what the moon’s phases would look like from our view here on Earth versus what the moon’s phases would look like if we were in a satellite in space above the North Pole!
Students were given a poster board with a large hole in the middle and eight “moons” (ping pong balls colored black on one side and white on the other). The students attached the moons to the poster board at eight spots around the hole. They then placed the board around their shoulders and observed the white parts of the moon, and these different perspectives represent the moon phases Ask your student what phase the moon is out tonight!