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Observe the Moon's phases

  • Planétarium
Students will discover that the Moon changes its appearance from one night to the next
Photo: Akira Fujii/DMI
Phases of the moon

Tabs group


Description of the activity

This activity aims to develop interest in observing the sky during the day and night. Students will discover that the Moon changes its appearance from one night to the next; that these different forms of the Moon are called phases; and that they depend on the part of the lunar surface illuminated by the Sun that is visible from Earth. The activity has two parts, the first of which can be used to prepare students for the show, The Secret Phases of the Moon.


To better understand the mechanisms of the Moon's phases

Equipment needed by the student

  • Copies of the activity sheet
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick or scotch tape
  • Pencil (and eraser if necessary)
  • Clipboard or a firm writing surface (to bring outside)


For each of the two parts, make enough copies of the activity sheets, one copy per student.


The first part of the activity introduces the concept of the order of the phases of the Moon and can be used before visiting the planetarium to prepare students for a better understanding of the show, The Secret Phases of the Moon.

The second part consists of recording observations of the Moon for one month. It is best to begin the second part on a sunny afternoon, when the Moon is visible in the sky. This allows you to help students do some daytime observations during the early part of this activity. Students will then be able to use their skills to make their own observations, both during the day and at night.


Adapted from: Astro Adventures, by Dennis Schatz et Doug Cooper,
© 1994 Pacific Science Center

Category of activity

  • Enrichment activity

Sub-category of activity

  • Class activity

Grade level

  • Preschool
  • Elementary cycle one
  • Elementary cycle two
  • Elementary cycle three
  • Secondary cycle one
  • Secondary cycle two

Number of students per group

Individual or group activity


One 50-minute period, and a few minutes a day for one month

Activity Sheets

Observe the Moon's phases[PDF - 1.1 MB - 13 pages]

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