I am excited to share with you a citizen science project that my kiddos and I have been recently taking part … the World MOON Project. The acronym draws attention to the mission of getting students to observe the world first hand and stands for More Observation Of Nature.
This is a great project for homeschool families, including co-ops and after school programs. With the World MOON Project, students from around the world learn how the Moon works from both their own local point of view and also a global perspective. The project is divided into two phases.
The first phase:
During the first, students learn from their observations and class discussions how the Moon changes location and shape (phase) in a regularly-repeating cyclical pattern from the point of view of your community. Students observe the Moon each day, record their observations and discuss their findings in order to learn, through personal inquiry, patterns in the Moon’s behavior in their own community.
The second phase:
The second phase is organized into three three-week parts. In each three-week part, the teacher sets aside one day for her/his students in grades 4-8 to write an essay to share globally with other project participants. By sharing what they’ve learned about the Moon in their community and comparing what they’ve found with the observations and findings of the other students from around the world, they develop a greater understanding of astronomy.
The World MOON Project is flexible; participants can choose specific curriculum goals or address all areas (lunar phases, inquiry skills, nature of science, etc). Each teacher can adjust their participation to his/her needs. Free handbooks guide teachers and students through the project. Visit the website to find out more about the World MOON Project. Click Teacher Handbook or Student Handbook to learn in detail how the project works.
We are taking part in the fall 2013 project but it will be offered again in the spring. I encourage you to take time to familiarize yourself with the project and consider it for your own curriculum.
To coordinate with our study, we’ve also explored the moon’s influence on the Earth’s tides. In July, we observed the tidal changes along the Oregon coast while staying at my Dad’s. We also created a tide graph of the month’s tidal heights – see my post, The Secret of the Tides, for more information.