Applied Science - Physics (KA) Pre Lab
 OBJECTIVES: Observing the night sky. Deriving information from an observation. VOCABULARY: moon night physics sky stars MATERIALS: Mugambi's Moving Moon by Cassy Fries Students are read a poem to help them increase their observational skills.
BACKGROUND:

Observing and then describing nature is difficult. Precise definitions are needed. If the observations create a pattern, scientists can develop a mathematical formulation, that would help predict results. Other scientists, then attempt to observe and verify the prediction, through experimentation. As each prediction is verified, an understanding of the physical world slowly evolves. Scientists must observe something before they can understand it. Observation is important.

Although Mugambi's Moving Moon is fictional, it reflects how children view and interpret their world. The Moon has a schedule and comes out at night.  Children observe the night time sky and realize that the Moon is predictable. Mugambi moves to a new place and knows the Moon will follow him and therefore is a  comfort. Books like this can be used to illustrate the difference between illusion and fact. There are many additional books you can use to remind students there are many things we don't understand, but that is why we go to school.

Mugambi's impression of the Moon is very insightful. He realizes that because the Moon is up in the sky at night, he reasons that where ever you go, the Moon should be there. This is critical thinking, making an observation and concluding a reasonable explanation.  When early astronomers viewed the Moon, they had to figure out why it was always there. The observation must be made first before you can discover how and why.

PROCEDURE:

1. Emphasize that the science of Physics helps explain what is happening in the world and universe. The events that we see every day from throwing a ball to driving a car is due to the world we live in. Sometimes we don’t know how to explain it "scientifically." Observing "something" is the first step into understanding it.

2. Read the poem Mugambi's Moving Moon.
 Mugambi's Moving Moon by Cassy Fries
 Mugambi loved living in Africa There was so much to see and do Lions, zebras, monkeys and, giraffes These animals are just a few. But Mugambi was moving And he had to say goodbye To everything he knew From the ground to the sky “Goodbye lions and zebras I will miss all of you” And monkeys and giraffes I won’t forget you” Mugambi packed his suitcase He looked up to the sky Man in the moon I have to say goodbye Mugambi was moving to America He was scared and sad “You’ll make new friends Said Mugambi’s dad It was late at night Mugambi got on the plane He looked out the window “Things won’t be the same” From the plane window Mugambi got on the plane The man in the moon “Oh, please come with me” Mugambi was really tired And he went to sleep He dreamed of Africa Where the monkeys leap He was in America When morning came There were many buildings Nothing was the same There were many people But no lions in sight He looked for the moon But it was not night Animals live in America But they’re kept in a zoo Going to visit them Is what he should Mugambi left the airport And there was a yellow car It took him to his new home It seemed so very far Mugambi arrived to his home Then he ran to his room He unpacked his suitcase Cause his bedtime was soon He looked out the window From his new bedroom He saw his old friend The man in the moon.

Ask a few questions about the poem that help the students see the science in the poem.

Where is the Moon? In the sky, out in space.
When can you see it?  Every 28 days there is a Full Moon, then the percentage of the "pie" gets less, until it disappears.  We call that a New Moon.
Does the Moon always come up in the same direction?
Yes, in the east.
At the same time?
No
Does it always look the same? No
Is the Moon moving?  Yes, the Moon rotates around like a spinning ball, but it also revolves (goes around) the Earth.

3. As an extension, have the students record what the Moon looks like for the next month. It takes 28 days before it goes through a complete cycle of change.