The Moon Phase Game

The Moon Phase Game lesson plan

Study the phases of the moon. Test your knowledge with this exciting in-class moon game!

  • 1.

    The lunar month is 29.5 days long. During this time, the moon orbits the earth. As it travels, we see different portions of the moon at night, depending on where the moon is in relation to the sun and the earth. The different views we see are called the phases of the moon. Each lunar month starts with the first phase of the moon called new moon.

  • 2.

    Invite students to research the 8 phases of the moon. Find the name of each phase and a picture of what the moon looks like during that time. Why does the moon appear to change with each phase?

  • 3.

    Play the moon game with the class! Split up into four teams and choose a color of Crayola Dry-Erase Markers or Dry-Erase Crayons for each team. Select one member of each team to go up to the class whiteboard on each turn. When the teacher calls out a phase of the moon, each contestant will draw that phase of the moon on the white board with your team’s color. The first contestant to correctly draw the phase wins a point for his or her team!


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade level topic or subject area.
  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.
  • SCI: Use a model of a rotating, spherical Earth and the relative positions of the sun and moon to explain patterns in daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the phases of the moon.
  • SCI: Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the roles of science and technology in the design process for developing and refining devices to understand the universe.
  • VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in artworks.
  • VA: Generalize about the effects of visual structures and functions and reflect upon these effects in their own work.
  • VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in artworks.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Faces of the Moon by Bob Crelin; The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons; The Moon Seems to Change (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Franklin M. Branley
  • Encourage students to keep a moon-tracking journal. For the next 30 days, students draw a small picture of the moon each night in a journal and write a brief description of how it looks. Include appropriate vocabulary. At the conclusion of the 30 day period, students discuss what they have observed. Did they see all 8 phases?
  • Students investigate how the moon influences the oceans' tides. Students write a summary explanatory paragraph and sketches seasonal views illustrating the changes in the oceans' tides.