The Phases of the Moon

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 12043

When you see the moon over several days, does it appear to be turning around, showing a dark and light side? Actually, it does that because it is NOT turning around as we see it! Learn why this is so!


Space Science and Astronomy

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Does the moon always look the same when you look at it at night? Why does it seem to play hide-and-seek?

The Earth’s moon reflects the light of the sun during the night.

This allows us to see the moon in the night sky. If you look at the moon every night, you will see that the moon doesn’t always look the same. The moon isn’t changing shapes in the sky; it is going through phases. The phases of the moon change how we see the moon from Earth.

phases of the moon

You are going to explore what causes the phases of the moon.

(If you missed the previous lesson in our The Moon series, check it out under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar.)

The moon and the Earth are constantly moving. The moon orbits around the Earth. This means it is circling around the Earth. As the moon circles around the Earth, different parts of the moon reflect the sun’s light. The part of the moon that is facing the sun will reflect its light while the other parts remain dark. No matter what phase of the moon it is, you will always see the same side of the moon.

Are you ready to explore the different phases? Excellent! Before you read on, tell your parent or teacher why the moon has phases.

earth and moon

The phases of the moon are caused by the moon orbiting the Earth. There are eight phases of the moon that occur each month. You will watch a video about the different phases.

  1. Before you begin the video, take out coloring materials and a sheet of paper.
  2. Draw the top of the Earth in the center of your paper as if you were looking down at the North Pole.
  3. Draw a sun on the left side of your paper.
  4. As you watch the video, pause the video each time they introduce a new phase of the moon.
  5. Draw the phase of the moon where it is shown in the video. For example, you will see a new moon. You should draw a new moon on the left side of the Earth.
  6. Draw all eight phases of the moon while watching Lunar Cycle, Why The Moon Change Shapes, 8 Phases Of The Moon, Learning Videos For Children by KidsEduc – Kids Educational Games (below):


What phase of the moon do you like the best? Why? Share your answer with your parent or teacher.

You learned about how the moon’s orbit changes how much light from the sun is reflected on the moon. You explored all eight of the phases of the moon.

In the Got It? section, you will review the different phases of the moon with a moon matching game!

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.