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How to make your own moon diary with Paul Sims from Sassafras Science {Free Templates Included}

February 12, 2020 3 min read

Learn about the moon and download free moon diary templates in this Sassafras Science activity from Elemental Science.

Hi-ya, Blaine and Tracey Sassafras here!! Today we are super excited to have one of our astronomy local experts visit the blog to share with you a bit about the moon.

We are counting down the days till volume 6 launches into the world in April of 2020, but until then, we hope you enjoy a peek inside what we learned on our astronomical adventures!

Paul Sims, a museum curator, a friend of Summer, and an all-around-interesting guy turned out to know quite a lot about space. There was more to him than meant the eye, but we can't share about that without revealing a spoiler.

So without further ado, here is Paul Sims...

A bit about the moon with Curator Paul Simms from Sassafras Science

Hello, children! Welcome!

I am quite glad to be joining Blaine and Tracey in their corner of the cybersphere for this moment. If we were in my museum I would have loads of amazing displays to share with you as I spoke about the moon, but alas, our imaginations will have to do. 

The moon is our closest space neighbor. It orbits the Earth in the same way that the Earth orbits the Sun.

The moon does have an atmosphere, but it is composed of very different gases, such as sodium and potassium. So, there is no air that humans can breathe on the moon without the use of a special suit.

The moon takes about 27 days to go around the Earth and it takes about a month to spin. Because of this, on Earth, we only see one side of the moon.


As the moon moves, parts of it are “lit” by the sun, which makes it look like the moon is changing shape. We call these different shapes, phases, and the pattern they follow, the lunar cycle.

  • Full Moon – During this phase, it appears as if the entire moon is lit.
  • Gibbous Moon – During this phase, it appears as if about ¾ of the moon is lit.
  • Last Quarter – During this phase, it appears as if half the moon is lit.
  • Crescent Moon – During this phase, it appears as if ¼ of the moon is lit.
  • New Moon – During this phase, it appears as if none of the moon is lit.

The moon is said to be waxing if it is appearing to grow larger, i.e., moving from a waxing gibbous moon to a full moon, and waning if it is appearing to grow smaller, i.e., moving from the last quarter moon to a waning crescent.

So now that you understand more about the moon, I want you to pick up the moon diary sheets to take home and create your own journal of the phases of the moon. Err, well, since you can't pick those off the table in the gallery, I'll just have Blaine and Tracey come back to share how you can download a version of these sheets.

How to make your own moon diary {Free Templates Included}

Learn about the moon and download free moon diary templates in this Sassafras Science activity from Elemental Science.

See didn't we tell you Mr. Sims was super knowledgeable! He emailed over a copy of that moon diary and we Sassy-Sci'd it for you guys. You can download it here:

We recommend that you have your students observe and record the shape of the Moon for the next 27 days.

Have them record the phases of the moon each night on the by drawing the part of the moon that they see on the moon diary sheets. (Note - If you cannot see the moon each night, you can look it up here.)

Well, that's all we've got - stay tuned for more out-of-this-world fun coming at you!


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