First Grade

Phases of the Moon


First graders have been exploring the Moon! They discovered that the Moon does not produce any of it’s own light, but rather reflects the light from the Sun.  It takes one month for the Moon to orbit our Earth. As it’s orbiting, different parts of the moon are lit up.

Question to Explore

Why does the Moon have phases? What are the phases of the Moon?


  • a lamp (with lamp shade removed) or flashlight to represent the sun
  • a styrofoam ball placed onto a stick (as the Moon)
  • your head represents the Earth


  1. Stand with your arm out in front of you holding the styrofoam ball (the Moon) in front of the lamp/flashlight (the Sun).  At this point, the Moon will not be lit up at all.  This represents the New Moon phase.
  2. Next, standing in place, slowly turn around yourself so that the Moon orbits your head (The Earth).
  3. You will notice that different parts of the styrofoam ball will be lit up as you rotate.
  4. The phases you will go through are Crescent Moon, First Quarter Moon, Half Moon, Gibbous Moon, and Full Moon