Thursday, October 10, 2013

How To: Foil MoonScapes

This was a popular project we did at Allentown Academy: Foil MoonScapes. It was a fun project to incorporate into an Astronomy program (read about how our day went here). You can base it off of Lunar geography, or as my students did, you can create a free design. Everyone's moon came out looking different. My students were also enthused by the idea of using these shiny discs as frisbees.

-cardboard circle  (7.5" diameter)
-aluminum foil
-white glue
-dried beans (we used pintos and lentils)
-oil pastels

1. Students glue beans and bottle caps onto cardboard circle. I let them have free reign as to the design, so each came out looking unique. A map of the moon was available. I encouraged them also to think about what people see in the moon... in our hemisphere we usually see a face, but in other parts of the world they might see an animal, such as the rabbit in the moon in Asia.

I love the designs my students created with their beans and bottlecaps. They took their time carefully placing the beans.

3. The next step, after gluing the relief objects, is to tear a piece of aluminum foil and carefully fold it over the circle. No glue or tape is needed to hold the aluminum foil in place. It clings pretty well to the circle all on its own. Also be careful not to press the foil too forcefully over the bottlecaps, as it might tear.

The students will find out that the bottlecaps make craters and the beans make bumpy highlands. Any areas without many beans or bottlecaps look more like the moon's maria.

4. The last step is to give the moon some color. Oil pastels go over the aluminum foil very nicely. To make this a more educational project, the students could be asked to color-code different geographic features. Labels could also be cut out and affixed to the craters, marias and other features.

Everyone was really proud of their moons!


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