Bouncing Sunlight
Lesson Objective
The student will learn and understand that the moon's light is a reflection from the light of the sun by doing interactive activities,
investigation, and discussions.
Background Information for Teacher
Student Prior Knowledge
This lesson follows lessons that the earth and the moon are spherical. Students also need to understand that the sun is a star that
gives the earth sunlight.
An orange, or ball that size
Piece of foil that will cover the orange
Science journals, or pencil and paper
Step-by-Step Guided Lesson
Step 1: Start Video
(Tips: Interact with the video by pausing, to ask questions or discuss information viewed with student.)
Before showing the video: Pose the question that the student will be investigating and write it on the board: Where does the moon
get its source of light? Have the student write the question in their science journals. Accept all predictions from the student that
might be an answer to this question. Write the answers under the question. Have the student choose one they think might be the
answer, and have them write it in their science journal.
Step 2: Teach Lesson
Review with the student the concept that the earth and the moon are spherical. Remind them that the light that warms the earth and
gives us daylight comes from the sun.
Tell the student, When seen at night, the moon seems to shine brightly in the sky. What we actually see is the reflection of
the sun's light on the moon. The moon gets its light from the sun, just as we do on Earth.
Pass out the materials to the student. Discuss the importance of "models" and what they are. (A model helps us explain or show what
happens with larger or smaller objects.)
Tell the student that today will be using the orange as a model of the moon to explain where the moon gets its light. The flashlight will
be a model of the sun.
Tell the student that each step of the investigation will allow them to make observations to find answers. They will need to write their
observations in their journals.
The student will cover their orange or ball with foil. They can make it bumpy and with craters to look like the surface of the moon.
Have them place it in the middle of a desk.
Turn off lights. (The room must be completely dark, without any reflected light.) Discuss any observations they make. Does the moon
shine? Why or why not? Where is the "moonlight" everyone talks about? Why does it stay dark?
Turn on lights and have the student record their observations. What are their conclusions so far? Can we state that the moon does
not make its own light? Has our investigation answered our original question yet?
Now turn the lights off once again, and have the student turn on their flashlight and shine it on the moon. Remind them the flashlight
represents a model of the sun shining. The student should discuss what they observe. Does their moon look bright now? Does the
sun light the moon? How does this take place?
Turn the light back on and have the student record observations. Based on their findings, what conclusions can they reach to answer
the original question? Were their predictions correct?
Discuss what occurs when the sunlight hits the surface of the moon. When the student describe what they see, help them understand
that when sunlight bounces off the surface of something, it is called a reflection. Can they think of other times when light from
something is reflected off a surface? (Headlight reflects street signs along a road, firelight from a campfire bouncing off someone
sitting on the other side.)
Have the student write a statement in their science journals that describes the sun as the source of light that lights the moon.
Have the student complete the worksheets below for extra practice.
Step 3: Complete the worksheet attached below.
Extra worksheets for practice
My Moon Journal Extra Activity
Step 4: Review: Start the next lesson with the game or activity attached below for review so the student can demonstrate
understanding of this lesson before moving forward.
Simple Light Experiments (offline) activities