Reflection: Gradual Release Why Does the Moon Change? - Section 4: Explore


Why Build An Interactive Model This Way 

Building an interactive model requires gradual release so that that students build it correctly, and can use it correctly, eventually using it practice independently.  I have them build this model by first shading in the phases of the moon instead of just providing them pictures of each moon phase.  By having them shade in the pictures themselves, they are making the connection between the moon gradually getting bigger in appearance until it is full, to then gradually getting smaller in appearance until we can't see any of it.  I encourage students to draw out this diagram on assessments to help them answer questions.  Without practicing the shading part, diagramming it on assessments later may be more challenging. 

We begin describing each shaded part together as a class.  Then, I begin asking them to shade in the next one while I walk around to check that each one is correct.  Finally, after I see that the majority of students are doing this correctly, I ask them to continue shading all remaining moons while I circulate.  By circulating I know which students need more assistance and I can focus on just those one or two while all other students can work independently. 

I have students write the name of the moon phase on the back of the card instead of the front so they can quiz themselves on the names.  By not having them right in front of them, they will first think about what the name is, then check to make sure they are correct.  They are able to practice placing them in order based on their appearance and then check the names to make sure they are correct after.  

The final step of the modeling is for students to put the phases in order.  We begin by building one together as I teach them that the New Moon is always between the sun and Earth, no matter where the sun is located.  I then let them work in groups to finish the first model.  This allows the ESE, ELL and any other struggling students to have peers to ask for help from.  


After they build one in their group and we check it together, I move the sun to the other side and have them build the model again independently.  This allows me to assess that students can build the model independently and that they can apply their understanding of the New Moon beginning the model by placing that phase between the sun and the Earth. 

Students take their interactive model home to practice on their own.  They can practice this as many times as they want, moving the sun to different locations.  They can also quiz themselves on the names of the phases because some test questions show pictures of a moon phase and ask what phase it is.  They can also use their model to practice identifying which phase will appear at a certain time as done in the wrap up section.  

  Creating An Interactive Model
  Gradual Release: Creating An Interactive Model
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Why Does the Moon Change?

Unit 6: Earth's Place In Space
Lesson 8 of 9

Objective: SWBAT identify the phases of the moon and determine which phase will appear at certain times of the month.

Big Idea: Students will illustrate all eight of the moon phases and place them in the correct order on a velcro practice mat. They will use the practice mat to answer questions involving dates.

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13 teachers like this lesson
Science, Earth and Space Science, space, Planets
  60 minutes
moon phases
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