All About the Moon

 

Books, videos, hands-on projects, experiments, lesson plans and much more on Earth’s one and only moon – plus moon cookies, moon poems, a moon hoax, and instructions for building a spaceship.

BLUE MOONS

  In Rebecca Rupp’s Journey to the Blue Moon (Candlewick, 2006), 11-year-old Alex has lost a family heirloom pocket watch – and finds that without it, time is disastrously slipping through his fingers. A chance encounter with a mysterious lady at the library sends Alex and his dog, Zeke, to the Blue Moon – where all lost things end up, from misplaced homework to lost hopes, dreams, and tempers –  in company with a manic crew of scavenging Moon Rats. On the Blue Moon Alex meets Simon, a 16th-century scholar who – in the course of solving a mathematical puzzle – has lost his way, and Miss Mumsley, a 19th-century feminist from Ohio, who has lost her heart to a faithless prospector. Together they set off on a quest to recover their losses, defeat the ghastly Time Eaters, and return home. For ages 9-12.
  From Sky & Telescope magazine, Philip Hiscock’s Once in a Blue Moon and What’s a Blue Moon by Roger Sinnott, Donald Olson, and Richard Flenberg discuss the folklore and science of blue moons.
  From Science@NASA, Blue Moon has more info on colorful moons (and lavender suns).
  Aurelia and Blue Moon are hypothetical worlds invented by astrophysicists on which alternative lifeforms could develop. The low-gravity world of the Blue Moon, for example, features giant “pagoda trees” that grow half a mile high, balloon plants, manta-ray-like kites, and skywhales.
  Travel to Aurelia and the Blue Moon via the National Geographic Channel’s Extraterrestrial.

MOON STORIES AND RASPBERRY TARTS

  The moon in Margaret Wise Brown’s classic Goodnight Moon (HarperCollins, 2005) is in a picture on the wall in the great green room where a very small rabbit is going to sleep. A bedtime tradition since 1947.
  In Kevin Henkes’s, Kitten’s First Full Moon (Greenwillow Books, 2004), Kitten is convinced that the moon is a bowl of milk in the sky and is determined to get it. She fails time and again (“Poor Kitten!”) and finally tumbles into a pond chasing the moon’s reflection. Wet, tired, and hungry, Kitten returns home – to find a comforting bowl of milk waiting for her on the porch. For ages 2-5.
  Follow along in a reading of Kitten’s First Full Moon on You Tube.
  The huggable Bear of Frank Asch’s Happy Birthday, Moon (Aladdin, 2000) wants to give the moon a birthday present. He climbs a tree and a mountain, trying to chat with the moon, and finally discovers that the moon’s birthday is the same as his own. In fact, they even want the same present. Sequels featuring Bear and the moon include Mooncake and Moongame. For ages 3-7.
  In Eric Carle’s gorgeously illustrated Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1991), the moon looks so close that Monica wants to reach up and play with it – but still it’s much too far away. And so she asks, “Papa, please get the moon for me.”
  With the help of a very tall mountain and a very long ladder, Papa tries, but when he reaches the moon he finds it much too large to carry. He waits patiently, however, and day by day the moon grows smaller until it’s just the right size to pick up. Monica has a wonderful time playing with the moon – until finally it grows so small that it floats back up to the sky and disappears. Some nights later, though, it reappears in Monica’s bedroom window, as beautiful as ever. A lovely story with wonderful fold-out pages (to accommodate a very long ladder) for ages 3-8.
  In Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon (Philomel, 1987), a little girl and her father go owling on a moonlit winter night. They walk through snow in the woods, hidden animals watching them pass, until they come to a clearing where the father gives an owl call – and a magnificent owl swoops down from the sky. A simple magical story for ages 3-8.
  In James Christopher Carroll’s glowingly illustrated The Boy and the Moon (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010), a little boy with a teddy bear and a host of animal companions run out into the night for an exuberant moonlit romp – until the moon gets stuck in the branches of an apple tree. Luckily the boy comes up with a clever scheme for rolling it free and sending it back to the sky. A beautiful read for ages 3-7.
  Though traditionally the moon is said to be made of green cheese, when Rosie inquires in Lisa Shulman’s The Moon Might be Milk (Dutton Juvenile Books, 2007), the local animals all have other ideas. Cat thinks it’s a saucer of milk; Hen opts for an egg; Dog says butter; Butterfly, sugar; and Mouse, flour. Finally all arrive at Rosie’s grandmother’s house, where Gran combines all the guesses to cook up a batch of moon-shaped cookies. A recipe for Gran’s Sugar Cookie Moons is included. For ages 3-8.
  What happens to the moon in the daytime? In Ruth Martin’s Moon Dreams (Templar Publishing, 2010), Luna (who was born under a full moon) and her toy bunny explore a number of possibilities. Perhaps the moon dives into the sea (Luna and bunny investigate in a bathyscaphe) or hides in the mountains or slips behind the clouds. Ultimately the moon confides that it’s always right there in the sky, watching over Luna all the time. For ages 3-6.
  In Jimmy Liao’s charmingly illustrated When the Moon Forgot (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009), the moon disappears, and when it does the sky darkens, the tides stop, and factories begin manufacturing artificial moons to make up for the loss. In the meantime, a little boy has rescued the moon, which has fallen to earth and landed in a pond. The moon is small, sick, and confused – it can’t remember where it came from – so the boy tends it, and together they explore, play, and become friends. Finally the artificial moons begin to fade and blink out – people toss them away and they pile up on street corners – and at last the moon remembers where it belongs. Sadly the two friends part – but from then on the boy’s dreams are always filled with moonlight. For ages 5-10.
  In the Guardians of Childhood series, William Joyce’s The Man in the Moon (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011) is the magnificently illustrated tale of the Man in the Moon – who, it turns out, wasn’t always a Man and wasn’t always on the Moon. As a child, the Man in the Moon (MiM) travels through space with his parents in the Moon Clipper, a gorgeous spherical spaceship. Then Pitch, King of Nightmares, moves in, determined to capture MiM. A battle ensues, in which MiM’s parents and his caretaker, Nightlight, are lost, after which Mim takes up residence on the moon. There, determined to protect the hopes and dreams of children on Earth, he becomes a Guardian of Childhood, along with his allies: a toymaker, a rabbit with a passion for candy eggs, a fairy who leaves prizes under pillows, a storyteller, and a sleepy little man with a love for dreams. Not to be missed. For ages 6 and up.
  The Man in the Moon is a beautifully illustrated activity book of puzzles and projects to accompany the book.
  In James Thurber’s Many Moons (Sandpiper, 1998) – my favorite moon book of all time – the little Princess Lenore, sick from a surfeit of raspberry tarts, refuses to get well until she’s given the moon. The king’s advisors all fail to help (“Nobody can get the moon,” said the Royal Wizard. “It is 150,000 miles away, and it is made of green cheese, and it is twice as big as the palace.”) Finally the wise Court Jester, with a little help from the princess herself, solves the problem. A delight for all ages.
  Bake a batch of raspberry tarts!

IMAGINARY VOYAGES: SPACESHIPS AND MAN-BATS

  In Caldecott winner Peter McCarty’s Moon Plane (Henry Holt and Company, 2006), a little boy watches an airplane in the sky – and then imagines flying it himself, over land and ocean, into outer space and to the moon. It’s a magical bedtime tale that ends with the boy’s mother tucking him into bed to dream of airplanes. For ages 2-6.
  In Ezra Jack Keats’s Regards to the Man in the Moon (Viking Juvenile Books, 2009), Louie is upset because the other kids call his father the “junkman” – until Louie’s dad shows him how junk plus imagination can become a fabulous spaceship. For ages 4-8.
  Want a space ship of your very own? (And who doesn’t?) See How to Build a Cardboard Rocket Ship.
  Hergé’s comic-strip hero Tintin is a young reporter who has exciting and far-ranging adventures in company with his faithful dog, Snowy, and a large cast of characters, among them the curmudgeonly Captain Haddock (of Marlinspike Hall), the brilliant and deaf (which makes for complications) Professor Calculus, and the bumbling, bowler-hatted detective duo Thomson and Thompson.  There are 24 Tintin books in all, among them Destination Moon – originally published in 1953 – in which Professor Calculus joins a sabotage-ridden consortium attempting to land a man on the moon. In the sequel, Explorers on the Moon, Tintin and friends all blast off for the moon, pursued by villains, and saddled with stowaways Thomson and Thompson.
  Robert Heinlein’s Have Space Suit – Will Travel (Del Rey, 1985), originally written in 1958, features a bright high-school student, Kip Russell, who enters an advertising jingle contest in hopes of winning a trip to the moon. Instead, he wins a decrepit space suit – which he nicknames Oscar and manages to repair. He and Oscar then encounter a spaceship containing Peewee, an eleven-year-old girl genius, and her companion alien, a lemur-like creature from Vega known as the Mother Thing. All three are kidnapped by evil aliens, the Wormfaces, and taken to the moon, where they engineer a dangerous escape, and Peewee and Kip eventually end up on trial, struggling to save the entire human race. Sci-fi fans ages 11 and up will love it.
  In Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Orb Books, 1997), the moon is a former penal colony, still governed by a Warden, the representative of the Earth-based Authority, which now exploits lunar natural resources for huge profits. The oppressed natives (“Loonies”) – whose adaptation to the moon’s low gravity prevents them from ever returning to Earth – eventually rise in revolt, under the leadership of Mannie, the narrator, a one-armed computer technician, the elderly Professor Bernardo de la Paz (exiled to the moon for political subversion), the radical (and gorgeous) Wyoming Knott, and a newly sentient computer nicknamed Mike, who has a brilliant brain and a low taste in jokes. Thought-provoking and discussion-promoting. For ages 13 and up.
  H.G. Wells’s The First Men in the Moon (Dover Publications, 2000) is a sci-fi classic, originally published in 1901, in which the narrator travels to the moon with Mr. Cavor, a physicist, who has invented an anti-gravity spaceship-lifting substance called cavorite. There they are captured by the Selenites, an intelligent insectoid race that lives beneath the moon’s surface. The narrator eventually escapes, but Cavor is recaptured and stays behind, though he eventually manages to communicate with Earth by radio. When the Selenites discover humanity’s propensity for war, however, all broadcasts are cut off and Cavor is never heard from again. For ages 13 and up.
  M.T. Anderson’s chilling Orwellian novel Feed (Candlewick, 2004) begins when Titus and friends spend spring break on a trip to the nightclubs and shopping malls on the moon. In the world of Feed, people are given computer chip implants – “feeds” – in infancy, which continually bombard them with information in the form of pop-up advertisements. Mind-to-mind chats are the main means of communication; reading is obsolete; consumerism is rampant; and lifestyles are shallow and frentic, punctuated with a Clockwork-Orange-like teenage slang. At the same time, corporations rule the world, the environment is polluted, and civilization is falling apart. Then Titus meets Violet, who becomes his girlfriend – a homeschooler who didn’t get her feed until she was seven. Violet is determined to resist the feed, a choice that ultimately leads to her destruction. A powerful book for ages 14 and up.
  Stephen Krensky’s The Great Moon Hoax (Carolrhoda Books, 2011) is a picture-book account of the famous hoax of 1835 perpetrated by a reporter for the New York Sun who, in a series of six exciting articles, claimed that astronomer John Herschel, using a new ultra-powerful telescope, had identified life on the moon. (Lunar Buffalo! Moon Beavers! Man-Bats!) The story is told through the eyes of two young newsboys, Jake and Charlie, with historical background on city life in the early 19thcentury. For ages 6-9.
  The complete illustrated text of the original New York Sun articles, historical background, and commentary can be found at the Museum of Hoaxes website.
  Matthew Goodman’s The Sun and the Moon (Basic Books, 2010) – subtitled “The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York” – is a fascinating history of the Great Moon Hoax, covering the rise of tabloid journalism and the birth of science fiction, under the auspices of P.T. Barnum and Edgar Allan Poe. For older teenagers and adults.
  From the New York Times, Giant Leaps of Moonstruck Dreamers  is a short history of the moon in science fiction and how it inspired a generation of astronauts, rocket engineers, and astrophysicists.

MULTICULTURAL MOONS: TURTLES, DRAGONS, AND MOON CAKES

  Elphinstone Dayrell’s Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky (Sandpiper, 1990) is a picture-book version of an African folktale in which husband and wife Sun and Moon build a big house in anticipation of a visit from Water. It’s not big enough: when Water and all his friends come to visit, the house fills to overflowing, forcing Sun and Moon to flee to the sky where they have lived ever since. For ages 4-8.
  Pat Mora’s The Night the Moon Fell (Groundwood Books, 2009) is a picture-book version of a Mayan folktale in which a blowgun shot startles the moon, causing her to lose her balance, fall from the sky, and break into pieces. Scattered on the ocean floor, the moon – with help from some friendly fish – manages to put herself together again, and the fish return with her to the night sky and become the Milky Way. For ages 3-7.
  In Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London (Puffin, 1997), the thirteen scales on Old Turtle’s back represent, in Native American lore, the thirteen lunar months of the year. The book has an evocative poem for each lunar moon from the Moon of Popping Trees and Baby Bear Moon through Moose-Calling Moon, Moon When the Wolves Run Together, and Big Moon. Each is illustrated with a lush oil painting by Thomas Locker. For ages 6 and up.
  Turtle Time: Creating and Using a 13-Moon Calendar has instructions for making a lunar calendar using a printable turtle template.
  Make your own cut-and-paste thirteen-scaled turtle. For a printable template, see Cut and Paste Turtle
  Penny Pollock’s When the Moon is Full (Little, Brown and Company, 2001), illustrated with beautiful hand-colored woodcuts by Mary Azarian, has twelve poems for twelve Native American moons from Wolf Moon to Long Night Moon, along with a brief appendix of moon facts. For ages 4 and up. This is regrettably out of print, but is available from libraries, in used editions, and as a Kindle book.
  Cynthia Rylant’s Long Night Moon (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004) has a poem for each Native American moon of the year, illustrated with lovely moonlit charcoal and pastel landscapes by Mark Siegel. For ages 4-8.
  The Girl Who Married the Moon by Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross (Fulcrum Publishing, 2006) is a collection of 16 native American folktales grouped by region (Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest), all on the theme of girls reaching womanhood. The title tale, an Alutiiq legend from Kodiak Island, explains how a young girl married the Moon and eventually came to share his job. We now have two moons: the husband begins each month, wearing a changing moon mask each night until the moon is full; then the wife takes over, wearing the changing masks until the month’s end. For ages 10 and up.
  This animated version of The Girl Who Married the Moon was made by Kodiak high school students in collaboration with the Alutiiq Museum.
  Janet Ruth Heller’s How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2006) is a Native-American-style tale about bullying. The angry sun calls the moon names (“You ugly scarecrow!”), so the crushed moon vanishes from the sky – until, convinced by the voices of all who love her, including some moonlight-dancing rabbits, she regains her confidence and returns to her rightful place. An appended “Creative Minds” section includes information about moon phases and traditional moon names, a recipe for moon cookies, and a template for making a lunar cycle circle. For ages 5-9.
  From the Colonial Williamsburg Journal, How Was “the Tyme Appointed’? is an interesting article Native American time-telling. (Did the Powhatan Indians fight moon wars?)
  Grace Lin’s Thanking the Moon is a simple account of the mid-autumn Moon Festival in which a Chinese-American family – parents and three children – celebrate with a nighttime picnic, moon cakes, a moon-honoring table, glowing paper lanterns, and finally the making of a special secret wish. For ages 3-7.
  In Lin Yi’s Lantern by Brenda Williams (Barefoot Books, 2009), Lin Yi is sent to the market to purchase supplies for the Moon Festival – moon cakes, rice, star fruit, yams, and (for his Uncle Hui) peanuts  – but what he wants most of all is a red rabbit lantern for himself. The book is a lovely lesson in thoughtfulness and generosity. Included are instructions for making a Chinese lantern. For ages 4-8.
  Bake your own moon cakes!
  In Amy Tan’s The Moon Lady (Aladdin, 1995), three sisters – unhappily trapped indoors on a rainy day – are told a story by their grandmother (Nai-nai) about her childhood when, one Moon Festival evening, she sets off to find the Moon Lady who can grant secret wishes. She has some frightening adventures – among them falling into a lake – until she is finally, gratefully, reunited with her family again. The lesson learned was that the best wishes are those you can make come true for yourself. For ages 8-11.
  In Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011), Minli and her parents eke out  existence in a mud-colored village in the valley of the Fruitless Mountain, where in the evenings Minli’s father tells her wonderful tales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man in the Moon. Then Minli spends a precious coin to buy a goldfish, hoping to bring fortune to the family. Instead, the fish is just another mouth to feed, so Minli sets it free. In gratitude, the fish tells her how to find Never-Ending Mountain, the home of the Old Man in the Moon, who knows everything, including the way to make the family’s fortune. Minli’s quest is punctuated with wonderful thought-provoking Chinese folktales – and eventually, though not in the way she had expected, she finds her heart’s desire. For ages 8-12.
  Where the Mountain Meets the Moon has a downloadable activity book and board game to accompany the book.
  Katherine Paterson’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon (Chronicle Books, 2011) is a picture-book version of a hymn of praise (“The Canticle of the Sun”) originally written by Saint Francis of Assisi. The lovely illustrations, by Pamela Dalton, are intricate hand-colored scherenschnitte or paper-cuttings. For ages 4 and up.
  In Sylvia Whitman’s Under the Ramadan Moon (Albert Whitman & Company, 2011), a modern Muslim family waits for the first crescent moon that signals the beginning of Ramadan. This is a simple picture-book account of how Ramadan is celebrated, through fasting, prayer, reading of the Qu’ran, and charity to the poor. For ages 4-8.
  Monday is the Moon’s Day. Find out about the origins of the names of the days of the week here

THE MOON FOR ASTRONOMERS

  Franklyn M. Branley’s What the Moon is Like (HarperCollins, 2000) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out science series is a simple reader-friendly introduction to the moon, illustrated with drawings and photographs. Included is a short list of activities, among them instructions for making a moon crater (you’ll need flour, cocoa powder, and a marble), designing a space colony, and calculating your weight on the moon. For ages 4-8.
  In the same series, Branley’s The Moon Seems to Change (HarperCollins, 1987) is a simple explanation of moon phases for ages 4-9, illustrated with appealing diagrams. Included is a try-it-yourself demo using an orange and a flashlight.
  Faith McNulty’s If You Decide to Go to the Moon (Scholastic Press, 2005) is a conversational travel manual for potential lunar astronauts, written in the style of How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World (1979), with illustrations by Steven Kellogg. A little boy sets off for the moon in his own rocket ship (“Check the things you will need: space suit, air tanks, books, and games.”), shooting through space to land in the Sea of Tranquility. Moon facts are tucked into the narrative; and a pair of fold-out spreads emphasizes the differences between the empty landscape of the moon and the lush life-packed landscape of Earth. For ages 4-9.
  Seymour Simon’s The Moon (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2003), illustrated with gorgeous color photographs, is an excellent nonfiction introduction for ages 6-11.
  Gail Gibbons’s The Moon Book (Holiday House, 1997), illustrated with diagrams and bright paintings, covers how the moon shines, moon phases, eclipses, lunar exploration, and moon lore and legends. Included are instructions for making a simple pinhole solar eclipse viewer. For ages 7-11.
  Stewart Ross’s Moon: Science, History, and Mystery (Scholastic, 2009) covers everything from moon gods and moon lore to Isaac Newton and the Apollo missions in 128 cleverly designed pages packed with photographs, art reproductions, cool moon facts, and interesting information. An excellent overview for ages 9-12.
  From Mensa for Kids, The Moon is an early-elementary-level lesson plan, including a crater art project, a printable to-be-filled-out moon phases calendar, and an online moon phase matching game.
  From Enchanted Learning, The Moon has basic information, labeled illustrations, and printable activities, among these a moon phases diagram, a fill-in-the-blank lunar calendar, moon quizzes, and a pattern for a moon mobile made from an aluminum pie plate.
  From Paper Plate Education, Oreo Moon Phases is an activity for early-elementary-level kid in which they demonstrate the moon cycle using Oreo cookies.
  For a more detailed version of this activity (no Oreos) for older students, see Paper Plate’s Moon Finder.
  StarDate has an illustrated monthly calendar of moon phases and background information on the moon, including a diagram showing what causes moon phases, a list of Native American moon names, and an explanation of when the young moon first becomes visible in the evening sky (record for earliest observed crescent is just 19 hours).
  From Science-Class.net, Moon Phases has teacher notes and background information, interactive exercises, hands-on activities and experiments, quizzes, study notes, and vocabulary lists, all targeted at grades 5-9. Included are an “Arranging the Moon” activity with printable templates and moon phase photographs, a moon phase modeling project using lollipops, and a “Birthday Moon” challenge (predict the moon phase that will fall on your birthday).
  From the Discovery Education Learning Plans Library, Telling Time by the Light of the Moon is a hands-on project for grades 6-8 on moon phases with printable worksheets and templates. For example, kids make a lunar phase flip book and learn to determine solar time by the position of the moon.
  Moon Phases is an animation showing the relative positions of sun, earth, and moon during the lunar cycle.

  Calendarlabs has free downloadable blank calendars, suitable for recording moon phases.
  What does the moon look like right now? See a photographic image from the U.S. Naval Observatory.
  The famous Moon Illusion is the common observation that the moon appears much larger when it is close to the horizon than when it is high in the sky. A straightforward explanation for this phenomenon (and how it relates to the equally famous Ponzo Illusion) can be found at Bad Astronomy.
   From Discovery Education’s Lesson Plan Library, Pendulums on the Moon is a physical science project for grades 9-12 in which students use printable worksheets and an online Moon Pendulum applet to determine the effect of gravitational force on pendulum swing.
  Got a playground area and some sidewalk chalk? From Eye on the Sky, Adding the Moon is a (large) interactive demonstration of the various rotations and revolutions of the Earth, Sun, and Moon.
  From NASA Education, the Lunar Prospector site has dozens of hands-on activities for a range of ages related to moon phases, moon archaeology, moon rocks, craters, lunar landforms, the Lunar Prospector, and more. Make a lunar habitat, an edible solar system, and a paper bag space helmet.
  From the San Francisco Exploratorium, Your Weight on Other Worlds is an online calculator: fill in your Earth weight and discover what your weight would be on each of the planets and the moon.
  How Much Do You Weigh? has an explanation of weight and gravitational attraction, instructions for calculating your weight on the planets and the moon, and a fill-in-the-blank weight chart.
  From the Lunar and Planetary Institute, To the Moon and Beyond is a complete moon study unit for ages 8-13, with discussion questions and hands-on activities. Included are words and music to “Moon Tune,” an information-packed song set to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine;” instructions for building Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and moon colony models, a moon soil demonstration, crater and ice location experiments, and “Moon Mission,” an activity that involves assessing information collected by lunar missions.
  NASA’s downloadable Exploring the Moon Educator Guide covers lunar science and exploration for grades 4-12 with fact sheets, detailed explanations, illustrations and diagrams, discussion questions, and activities.
  The Full Story on the Moon has illustrated reader-friendly explanations of moon origin theories, the man in the moon, moon phases, and tides.
  Middle School Science’s Moon has a creative collection of lesson plans, projects, demonstrations, and printable worksheets. In “Crash Landing,” for example, kids determine what kind of supplies they’d need if they crash-landed on the moon. (Water? Matches?) Other activities involve making a moon clock using a printable template, determining the diameter of the moon, and exploring lunar phases and eclipses.
  Make a Crater at the Lunar Prospector website has background information on lunar craters and ejecta, instructions for several variations on crater-making experiments, and printable student data worksheets.
  The Lunar and Planetary Institute’s Moon Flip Book has instructions for making a moon phases flip book from black-and-white moon photographs (print, cut out, and assemble).
  From Classroom Zoom, The Moon in Motion has another version of a moon phase flip book, in which kids cut out and assemble diagrams showing the changing moon phases with relative positions of moon, Earth, and sun.
  Instructions for making this simple Lunar Prospector model call for marshmallows, soda straws, aluminum foil, and a sheet of white cardstock.
  30 Minute Rocket has instructions for building an air-powered bottle rocket (in just 30 minutes), using a plastic soda bottle, two sizes of drinking straws, and clay.

MAPPING THE MOON

  What’s where on the moon? The Full Moon Atlas is a complete collection of interactive lunar maps, variously charting craters, mountains, lakes, seas, and valleys.
Google Moon, developed with scientists from NASA’s Ames Research Center, includes a map of visible images (as in what you would see if you were in orbit around the moon), a lunar terrain map, a map of Apollo landing sites, and a collection of geological and topographic charts.
An interactive lunar map is available as an Android app.
For a student activity with accompanying printable map, see Moon Maps from the Lawrence Hall of Science.
  A Survey of Moon Maps Since the 17th Century is a fascinating historical overview of selenography – that is, moon mapping – with wonderful historical and modern images.
  Try your hand at mapping the moon. The Mapping Features of Our Moon activity guide has instructions, a sample moon map, a blank to-be-filled-in moon map, and a list of features to identify. Binoculars are suggested, but optional.

TEAM MOON: A GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND

 The moon has its own official holiday. Moon Day, July 20, commemorates the first landing of men on the moon in 1969.

  Judy Donnelly’s Moonwalk: The First Trip to the Moon (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1989) is a short chapter book illustrated with drawings and photographs, covering the Apollo 11 mission from blast-off to splash-down. Drama, human interest, and fascinating information for ages 6-9.
  “We all have our own dreams. This is the story of how mine came true.” So begins Buzz Aldrin’s Reaching for the Moon (Perfection Learning, 2008), an appealing child-friendly autobiography, illustrated with dramatic paintings by Wendell Minor. The book covers Aldrin’s childhood, education at West Point, training in the space program, and, of course, the famous voyage in which he became the second man to set foot of the moon. An appendix has a chronology of space exploration. For ages 6-9.
  I’ve always had a soft spot for Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who had to stay in the space capsule while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their giant steps for mankind. And his story is fascinating. Bea Uusma Schyffert’s biography of Collins, The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon (Chronicle Books, 2003), is packed with unusual information and personal reminiscences, and the scrapbook-style design – including handwritten notes and snapshots Collins took in the periodic 48-minute episodes without radio communication during his fourteen orbits of the far side of the moon – makes for an addictive read. For ages 9-14.
  Catherine Thimmesh’s Team Moon (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006) – subtitled “How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon” – is an enthralling 80-page picture-book history, illustrated with superb color photographs. Featured are the stories of the many people behind the famous mission: the seamstresses who made the space suits (twenty-two layers of five different kinds of fabric), the engineers who designed the Portable Life Support Systems, the biologists who worried about lethal lunar bacteria, and many many more. We now take the moon landing for granted – but this book reminds us how complex, difficult, and risky Apollo 11 really was. For ages 10 and up.
  This Team Moon lesson plan has discussion questions, printable student worksheets, and a book club guide to the book.
  Michael Light’s Full Moon (Knopf, 1999), a marvel of science photography, is a compendium of NASA’s black-and-white and color photos from the Apollo missions, ordered so as to create a coherent story from blastoff to touchdown. All ages.
  Andrew Chaikin’s A Man on the Moon (Penguin, 2007) is a superb history of the Apollo missions, based on extensive research and dozens of interviews, and crammed with compelling information and human interest. There’s a wonderful account of the astronauts learning geology – there’s a lot more to collecting moon rocks, it turns out, than simply grabbing the first rock you see. An addictive read for teenagers and adults.
  From Smithsonian Education’s Idea Lab, Walking on the Moon uses primary sources (photos, audio and video clips) to explore the history of the Apollo 11 mission.
  From the PBS Design Squad Nation in collaboration with NASA, On the Moon is a downloadable activity guide of moon-mission-related engineering projects variously appropriate for grades 3-8. For example, kids design an air-powered rocket that can hit a distant target, build a rubber-band-powered car, construct a cardboard crane and test its load-lifting capacity, and make and operate a solar water heater. Included in the guide are complete instructions and student activity sheets.
  From NASA’s Lunar and Planetary Science, The Moon has a detailed moon fact sheet, lists of books about the moon, and information on all current and past lunar missions.
  The 1995 movie Apollo 13, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks as astronaut Jim Lovell, is the story of the struggle to return the crew of the 1970 Apollo 13 mission safely to Earth after their spacecraft was crippled by an oxygen tank explosion.
  The HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon (1998, 2004, 2005), available on DVD, is a superb 12-episode account of NASA’s Apollo space program from 1961 to 1972. Well worth viewing.

PLANTS, ANIMALS, YOU, AND THE MOON

  Stephanie Lisa Tara’s I’ll Follow the Moon (Brown Books, 2011) is a gentle poetic account of a baby green sea turtle’s nighttime journey from nest to ocean, following the light of the moon. For ages 3-7.
  For more information on green sea turtles, see the National Geographic’s Green Sea Turtle or NOAA’s Green Turtle
  Does the Moon Affect Plants? has overviews of planting by the moon, moonlight and biorhythms, and gravitational effects of the moon on plants, with references for further investigation.
Does the moon affect YOU? Well…probably not. See Moon Myths for a discussion.
  Does the full moon make you crazy? From Scientific American Mind, Lunacy and the Full Moon discusses and debunks the lunar lunacy effect.
Can the moon cause earthquakes? Check it out here

MOON POEMS

   The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006) is a picture-book version of Stevenson’s famous poem (“The moon has a face like the clock in the hall…”) originally published in A Child’s Garden of Verses. The illustrations, by Tracy Campbell Pearson, show a little boy and his father on a moonlight adventure, accompanied by a dog, cat, and stuffed bunny. For ages 3 and up.
  Read Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, originally published in 1885, online
  Switching on the Moon, compiled by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters (Candlewick, 2010), is an illustrated collection of short bedtime poems for ages 3-7, many with moon themes.
  Douglas Florian’s Comets, Stars, the Moon and Mars (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007) is an illustrated collection of catchy space poems for ages 5 and up, many featuring moons.
Moon Poetry and Poems is a collection of poems and poem snippets, all with moon themes, from such poets as Christina Rossetti, Walter de la Mare, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
The ten best examples of moon poetry according to The Guardian, include works by William Shakespeare, James Joyce, William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath.
From Famous Poets and Poems, Moon Poems and Poetry has links to dozens of moon poems, including works by Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson,  A.E. Housman, Li Po, and many more.
Hear poet Dorianne Laux reads the title poem from her collection Facts About the Moon (W.W. Norton and Company, 2007).

MOON ART AND MUSIC

  Moon Art Projects for Preschool has instructions for making model moons from Styrofoam balls, a textured moon painting, and a Goodnight Moon collage.
  Moon Shot from Family Fun has instructions for making a rocket ship from white foam board, with a cut-out porthole for kids to peek through (and have their pictures taken).
Engine 145 has descriptions and links to 40 top songs about the moon, among them “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “Moon River,” “Shine On Harvest Moon,” and “Moonlight in Vermont.”
  Learn about Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” (a.k.a. Piano Sonata No. 14). See Making Music Fun for free printable “Moonlight Sonata” sheet music.
  Au Claire de la Lune has a brief history of the classic French folk song (By the Light of the Moon). 
Listen to “Au Claire de la Lune” here. Or sing along. In French.

Looking for more ressources on astronomy? See MARS: CURIOSITY TO BARSOOM.

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One Comment

  1. Deborah Patricca
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi,
    I am a mom of 5 kiddos, and I have homeschooled them all at one time or another. Back in our “early days” when I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I ran across your book about homeschooling and curriculum (can’t remember the title right now). It was a great help to me.

    Fast forward approximately 10 years, and now my oldest 3 are in school, 2 in high school, one in middle school, and I am only teaching my 2 youngest at home now. Ahh. School at home is a little less crazy than back then.

    My son (4th child) who is 10 wasn’t very interested in doing much independently reading. So I took him to the library specifically to help him look for one book that he could dig into on his own. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but one of the first books we laid eyes on was your fiction book for children, “Dragon of Lonely Island”. He decided to give it a try. So we took it home and he asked me to help him get into it by reading the first chapter to him. Well, he was hooked! So much so that he had it done in a few short days, very unusual for him. Then he asked for the second book “Return of the Dragon”, which he also promptly gobbled up!

    This mom was so thrilled! He then read “Journey to the Blue Moon”, and after that proceeded to go on to read at least a dozen more books in just a few short months. Finally, he was willing to sit down and read on his own. He loves to be read to, but reading by himself was just not his thing.

    I just thought that I should write and tell you that he found your books so interesting and engaging and perfect for a boy of that age.

    I feel a kinship with you because I am a homeschool mom and an aspiring writer. I hope you keep writing more books for adults and kids and whoever! I would love to be on any mailing list you have or find out more about your writing. I love the “Rupp Resources” and plan to use it in my homeschool planning.

    Sorry if this is too long of a post. Thank you for your great books and resources.
    Blessings,
    Deborah Patricca

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