Moon Study and Lunar Phenology Wheels

Create your own lunar phenology wheel and observe the moon phases!

With the first full moon of spring arriving tomorrow night, April 7, 2020, we thought it is a perfect time to share how to make lunar phenology wheels and learn about moon phases! We recommend starting your lunar phenology wheel on either a new moon or full moon. You will track the moon phases for 30 days to visualize the complete rotation of the moon.

“The Moon’s first phase, we call it NEW - when Moon’s between the Sun and you. Her sunlit side is turned away, and we can’t see her, night or day.” - Gail Gibbons 

We completed lunar phenology wheels this past fall and really enjoyed it. We viewed the moon each day throughout its cycle and recorded what phase we saw. We started and ended our lunar phenology wheel on a new moon. We went on many moon walks and spent cozy time curled up together watching the moon. On nights we couldn’t see the moon, we talked about why and what shape the moon would be. We also read the thermometer each day and drew the daily weather. We read books about the moon and the solar system and talked about space travel to the moon and how exciting and scary it must have been for those standing on the moon and looking at earth.

Supplies:

- printer and paper
- something to colour with (markers or pencil crayons)
- space and time to observe the moon
- binoculars (optional, for viewing the moon)

  

Directions: Get started making your own lunar phenology wheel! 

1. Download and print your lunar phenology wheel template here. Since you will be using this throughout the month, it is a good idea to print on cardstock or to glue your printer paper onto a thick paper or thin cardboard (such as a cereal box) for increased durability. In your printer settings under "Scale", you may have to select "Fit to page". We chose to cut ours into a circle shape. 

2. Colour the Earth at the centre of the wheel.

3. Add the dates to your wheel. On the outermost thin ring, record the date on which you are starting to observe the moon, such as April 7/20. Then continue writing the days, such as 8, 9, 10... May 1 and onward until you've completed the dates. 

4. Begin observing the moon! Fill in the moon phases as you observe them. Sometimes you can see the moon in the day too! You can google moon rise and set times and it will tell you the times for your area.  

5. Decide what else you would like to observe and record on your wheel. We chose to observe and record the weather and drew clouds, sun, rain, gray days, etc. (see photo of our lunar phenology wheels). You may also wish to observe and draw the birds you see each day, the plants sprouting up in spring, or the blooms appearing in your garden.  

6. Continue your observations until you've completed your lunar phenology wheel! If you enjoyed this activity, you can print another wheel and continue to observe the moon at any time!  

 For further moon exploration, visit:

- Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's "Explore the Moon - an introductory lunar observing program." 
- NASA Science's Space Place "All About the Moon"

  

“The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light.” - Tahereh Mafi

 

 

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