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Phases of Moon Model
written by Todd Timberlake
This interactive simulation allows students to explore how the relative position of Sun, Earth, and Moon produce the various phases of the moon, as seen from the Earth. The main window displays Earth (at the center) and Moon, with a circle tracing out Moon's orbit. Sun is far to the right in this picture and therefore the right side of Earth and Moon are bright while the left sides are dark.  As the simulation runs, a separate "Moon View" window shows progressive photos of the appearance of the Moon as seen from Earth.

Editor's Note: Don't miss the supplementary lesson plan, student guide, and homework problems. The author has cohesively integrated a hands-on investigation with the simulation. Together, these resources will promote understanding of a process that is often difficult for adolescents to grasp. SEE SUPPLEMENTARY DOCUMENTS below for links.

This item was created with Easy Java Simulations (EJS), a modeling tool that allows users without formal programming experience to generate computer models and simulations. To run the simulation, simply click the Java Archive file below. To modify or customize the model, See Related Materials for detailed instructions on installing and running the EJS Modeling and Authoring Tool.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
7 supplemental documents are available
2 source code documents are available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
- Astronomy Education
= Curricula
- Fundamentals
= Lunar Phases
- Solar System
= The Moon
- Middle School
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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