Introduction: Moon Phases Model


I used to teach primary school students various topics in science and of course had a passion for astronomy.

One easy to make activity is explaining how the phases of the Moon are formed using simple craft supplies.

It is sometimes difficult for young children to understand how the phases of the Moon occur, and I truly believe that a hands on experience helps them visualize it and learn in a better fashion.


A Styrofoam ball (I used one that is 12 cm in diameter - but anything larger than 8 cm will do)

A bamboo skewer

Black paint

A paintbrush


A disposable

Step 1: Preperation

The Styrofoam ball has an "equator" - meaning that there is a subtle line across the ball.

Paste the sticky-tape along the "equator" and then insert the skewer perpendicular to it - the skewer will serve as handle for the next steps.

Step 2: Paint It Black

Pour some of the paint in the disposable cup and start painting half of the sphere. The tape will help make a nice and distinct border.

After the paint has dried, carefully remove the tape.

Step 3: How to Use

You now have a Moon phase model.

In order to see the different phases of your "moon" - select a point in the room that will represent the sun (e.g. a window or door).

Move the "moon" around yourself but keep the white half always pointing toward the "sun" - this will require you to rotate the model as it moves along.

As you track the "moon" different phases will appear - with the black half representing the "dark" side and the white half representing the day-side.

A clear image of how it works can be seen here:

I hope you enjoyed this short instructable, and that it helped you teach others about our closest neighbor in space!

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