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The Moon changes shape every day. Sometimes you can see only part of the Moon. Other times, you can see the entire Moon. Why does this happen?

The purpose of this WebQuest is to help you learn why we see phases of the Moon.


Your task is to explain why the Moon changes appearance throughout the month. You will complete four tasks. If you don't have a worksheet, click here to get one. It will help you understand why the Moon's appearance changes.

Moon PhasesThe First Task

Complete the Task One on your worksheet. Draw and name eight important phases of the Moon. You will...

  • Draw the eight Moon phases.
  • Write the correct name of these phases.


Watch these videos to help you.

Here are some websites you can use to complete Task One.

How Do the Phases Get Their Names?

Phases of the Moon

Phases of the Moon II

The Second Task

Science has special terms. You need to know what these terms mean. For Task Two, define the following terms: gibbous, waning, and waxing. You will identify which phases are waxing and waning.


Get the definitions of the terms at this webpage.

Glossary of Lunar Terms

The Third Task

For Task Three, draw your birthday Moon. What phase was it on the day you were born? Find out and fill in the circle. Also, draw a picture of the phase of the Moon on your 2013 birthday


Use this website. Select your birthdate.

StarDate Online – Phases of the Moon Calendar

The Fourth Task

How does the Moon change during the month? For Task Four, complete the Task Four worksheet. See how the Moon changes each day. Complete the worksheet for March 2017.


Go the website below.  Select the current month and year.

StarDate Online – Phases of the Moon Calendar


All throughout history, people have looked at the Moon and marveled at the constant change.  Myths were written to explain what they saw.

By completing this WebQuest, you now understand how and why the Moon changes appearance every day.  Congratulations on your effort. 

This WebQuest addresses the following Utah State Core standards:

STANDARD I:  Students will understand that the appearance of the Moon changes in a predictable cycle as it orbits Earth and as Earth rotates on its axis.

Objective 1:  Explain patterns of changes in the appearance of the Moon as it orbits Earth.

a. Describe changes in the appearance of the Moon during a month
b. Identify the pattern of change in the Moon’s appearance.
c. Use observable evidence to explain the movement of the Moon around Earth in relationship to Earth turning on its axis and the position of the Moon changing in the sky.
d. Design an investigation, construct a chart, and collect data depicting the phases of the Moon.