Lunar Landforms Activities

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Looking for fun, engaging ways to help students learn about the Moon? This lesson contains several activities that will allow students to explore the Moon in new and exciting ways.

Lunar Landform Misconceptions

A common student misconception arises when they start to talk about the Moon. Many students assume that the landforms on the Moon (and the processes that created them) are distinct from those found on Earth. This is, of course, totally incorrect!

The activities found in this lesson are intended to help students see that the same types of processes are at play on both our planet and its satellite. Each activity is flexible enough to be modified to fit the needs of your classroom and students.

Lunar Landform Mapping Activity

A great way to introduce the Moon's landforms is to have students explore its surface through a mapping activity. They will need to use the map skills they have learned while looking at the Earth in order to create a map of the Moon. You can either distribute a blank image of the moon (without labels) and have them fill in labels for each landform, or for an added challenge, have them create a map from scratch. There are many resources out there for gathering the names of the various highlands, maria, valleys, and mountains of the Moon.

Another great way to do this is to assign students or groups to a portion of the visible side of the Moon and have them map just that portion using a common scale. Then, the class can stitch their maps together on the board to view the entire Moon.

Humans on the Moon Mapping and Research Activity

This activity is 'one small step' toward helping students understand the Moon that the Apollo astronauts saw when they landed there. Assign an Apollo mission to groups of students and have them research the Lunar landing site for that mission. Students can then place a pin or sticker on a map of the Moon and prepare a short presentation of the landing site. Ask groups to answer the question: 'Why did NASA likely choose this spot for an Apollo landing?' Some groups will find information regarding this question online, but others may have to think deeply about the physical landscape of the moon. This can then turn into a meaningful, engaging discussion activity.

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