Looking for a science fair project? This moon phases experiment is a fun one to pull together!
This month’s FloraCraft® Make It: Fun challenge was to use their large foam balls to create a project worthy of a science fair. It was tough to come up with something different than a cell or the Earth’s layers or something like that which these balls are perfect for. I opted for visualizing the phases of the moon. It’s not a project you see very often, and one of these large foam balls make a perfect Earth!
Let me show you how to put it together and make it work.
2 small dowel rods (1/4″ diameter)
Twine (not shown)
FloraCraft® Make It: Fun® Foam Sheet
FloraCraft® Make It: Fun® 8″ Foam Ball
FloraCraft® Make It: Fun® 2″ Foam Ball
Acrylic paint (blue, green, light gray, dark gray, and black)
Start by painting the foam balls. Insert the toothpick into the 2″ foam ball. Paint the ball with the light gray paint then, once dry, randomly dab the darker gray paint over the gray to mimic the look of the moon. Paint the toothpick black.
Paint the 8″ foam ball blue. Once dry, go back and paint the continents with the green. They don’t have to be perfect, just a generalization of the landmasses.
Cut one of the dowel rods to ~6″ long. Insert one end into the bottom of the globe and the other into the end of the foam sheet.
Attach the moon to the globe so that it appears above the globe.
Turn on the flashlight, which is now acting as our sun. Just like the Earth, one side of the moon is always facing the sun, meaning half of the moon is always lit and half is always not lit. But because of the moon’s rotation around the Earth, we don’t always see all of the moon that is lit.
To observe the phases of the moon you need to look at it from the perspective of the Earth. When the moon is the furthest away from the sun, as shown above, the Earth is seeing a full moon.
Shown above are the full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent.
As the moon continues to rotate around the Earth it will also experience the new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter and waxing gibbous before reaching a full moon once again.
It takes about a month for the moon to rotate completely around the Earth. This is a fun project and a great visual for kids to see why the moon looks the way it does during it’s phases.
Looking for another fun science experiment? Don’t miss these crystallized foam eggs!