Moon

Where can I find information about the moon?

Senior Primary

(Years 5-8)

Image: The moon by NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 4/07/22

Introduction

People have been interested in the Moon since ancient times. One of the reasons for this is that it is the most visible body in the sky, apart from the Sun. Also the Moon is 384,400 km away from Earth, which means it is closer to Earth than the planets. The Moon is known as Earth's satellite because it orbits the Earth. Its location and size makes it very important to planet Earth.

Orbit and spin

The Moon has two types of movements called orbit and spin. The orbit is the path that the Moon travels around the Earth while it spins or rotates on its axis.

Britannica School Primary

Britannica School Primary is a part of the EPIC collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

  • Type the words 'moon' in the search box at the top of the page.
  • Select the article called Moon (Earth's satellite).
  • If you scroll down the page you will find a link to Orbit and Spin.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Windows to the Universe

This site is run by the National Earth Science Teachers association in the USA. It has lots of information about the sun, the earth, space and the solar system.

  • Select your learning level - Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced (You can always change this later).
  • Enter 'moon orbit and spin' into the search area.
  • The article 'The Moon's Orbit and Rotation' has information about the Moon's orbit and how long it takes to go around the Earth.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About Uslink on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Space.com

Space.com has information about space exploration and astronomy, which is the study of the universe. Each article gives information about the person who wrote it, so you can assess how reliable it is.

  • Enter 'Moon orbit and spin' into the search area.
  • The article Does the Moon Rotate? has information about how the Moon rotates, and how it can change depending on how close to the Earth it is.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About Us link on this website. This can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.

Moon and Tides

The websites below will explain what tides are and the effect of the Moon on the ocean and tides on planet Earth.

Wonderopolis

This site is kept up to date by the National Center for Families Learning in the USA. The information on it is based on questions by students.

  • Enter search words 'tides' into the search area.
  • The article called What Does the Moon Do? has information about what tides are, how they work, and special kinds of tides. It also has some interesting facts about tides.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, e.g [topic word]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Britannica School

Britannica School is a good EPIC resource for this kind of information. It is reliable and is put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions about the Moon and tides.

  • Select your learning level - Primary, Middle, or Secondary (You can always change this later).
  • Enter 'tides' into the search area.
  • The article 'tide (ocean movement)' has information and a diagram that explains tides and types of tides like high tides and low tides.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Phases of the moon

The Moon goes through different phases and that is why it appears to change shape each night. The websites below will explain the different phases of the moon: full, quarter, crescent, and new.

Exploratorium

This site is run by the San Francisco museum of art, science, and human perception. It has a range of information and experiments on all sorts of science topics.

  • Enter the search words 'phases of the moon' into the search area.
  • The article Moon to the Eclipse: 7/8/17 has photographs and illustrations of the moon and its phases. It also explains why the moon has different phases.

Tips: We like websites with .edu in their address because they are reliable - they are from educational organisations overseas.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a free to use site with lots of useful videos. The front page has a range of subjects and subtopics to select from. Unfortunately Khan Academy does not work in Internet Explorer 8.

  • From the home page find the subject Science & engineering.
  • Select Cosmology and astronomy, then select Earth geological and climatic history.
  • Scroll down the page to Moon phases and eclipses and select the article Intro to Moon phases. There is a video that explains the different phases of the moon.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

Eclipses

A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth is between the Sun and The Moon. The Moon seems to disappear and then reappear as it passes through the Earth's shadow.

Wonderopolis

Wonderopolis also has information about eclipses.

Cosmos4Kids

Cosmos4Kids is an astronomy website from Andrew Rader Studios. You can explore topics from the home page or use the search feature.

  • Select Systems from the menu at the top of the page.
  • Choose the section called Eclipses from the right side of the page.
  • You will find out more about Lunar Eclipses and Solar Eclipses.
  • This article also has a video by NASA showing the stages of an eclipse and why it happens.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Exploration

Several expeditions have been sent from the Earth to explore the Moon. Some have orbited the Moon, while others have landed on its surface. These expeditions have helped us to learn more about the Moon.

NASA

NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It is an American government site.

  • Enter 'Moon Missions' into the search area.
  • There are links to articles about missions to the moon.
  • For example, the link The Apollo Missions has information, photographs, audios, and videos about the American missions to the moon.

Tips: You can trust the information on this website because it is a government website. You can tell this because it has .gov in the web address.

NASA: Solar System Exploration

This website from NASA is about the solar system and its exploration.

Books

There are many books that have been written about the Moon. Check out your local public or school library to see what they have!

Here are some recommended titles:

SCIS no: 1912592

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