Monday, September 15, 2008

Math Monday: The Moon

In honor of the full moon, we will be studying the moon this week.

Depending on age and ability, this is a good time to learn about circles and spheres. My 1st and 2nd graders will learn there are 360 degrees in a circle and we will practice drawing them with a compass. We will discuss what diameter and radius are and I will introduce the number pi (3.14), but will save actually doing equations with pi for when they are older.

Discuss the shapes of other moon phases (crescent and half-moon)

The moon's orbit around Earth is elliptical (oval-shaped)

Word Problems
Gravity is much less on the moon, so much less that a person weighs 1/6 of their "Earth" weight. Weigh yourself on a scale and then multiply your weight by 0.17. For older kids, they can show their work; for younger kids, this is a good opportunity to practice calculator skills.

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. This happened on July 20, 1969. How many years ago was that? (Hint: subtract 1969 from the current year).

Graph the number of moons each planet has. Older kids can do the research themselves, but for the younger crowd here is the information: Mercury and Venus have no moon, Earth has 1, Mars has 2, Neptune has 13, Uranus has 27, Saturn has 60, Jupiter has 63, and while it is no longer considered a planet, Pluto has 3 moons.

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