Moon Inquiry: Part 6 - Research Project

Junior (Age 9 – 12)

Curriculum Goal

STEM Skills and Connections: STEM Investigation and Communication Skills

  • Use a scientific research process and associated skills to conduct investigations
  • Communicate their findings, using science and technology vocabulary and formats that are appropriate for specific audiences and purposes
  • Analyse contributions to science and technology from various communities

 Earth and Space Systems: Exploring and Understanding Concepts

  • Identify components of the solar system, including the Sun, Earth and other planets, natural satellites, comets, asteroids, and meteoroids, and describe their main physical characteristics
  • Describe various effects of the relative positions and motions of Earth, the Moon, and the Sun


  • This is Part 6 of the Moon inquiry. This lesson launches students into their individual research projects about the Moon.
  • In previous lessons, students were asked to track how the Moon appears in the sky. As a class, you recorded data on the moonrise and moonset, lunar phases, sunrise and sunset. Learners have practiced consolidating information to develop both new understandings and continuing questions. Additionally, students explored the relationship of the orbital movement of the Moon and Earth around the Sun.


  • Projector and whiteboard
  • Video: Ojibwe Moons by Annette Lee and William Wilson
  • Chart paper with students’ questions/inquiries listed on it (from Part 3)
  • Chart paper with teacher-selected research topics listed
    • Suggested topics:
      • Composition of the Moon
      • Lunar Orbit and Revolution
      • Eclipses
      • Influence on Earth (ie. Tides)
      • Phases
      • Exploration by Humans



  • Ask students:
    • Are you familiar with how diverse and different cultures, religions, countries, peoples and/or time periods regard the Moon?
    • What is the importance of the Moon?
    • What beliefs have people held about the Moon?
    • Where did people think the Moon came from? What did they think it was made of? Did they think anything lived on the Moon?
  • Tell students: It is important to recognize the knowledge that cultures and communities around the world and throughout time have had about the Moon. Many important traditions and practices have been shaped by different peoples’ observations of the Moon. Different cultures use the Moon to structure their calendars. The calendar we use every day in class has its roots in Ancient Rome (many of our months are named after Roman gods and goddesses!). Our 12-month calendar is a solar calendar which means its dates and seasons correspond to how the Sun appears in the sky compared to the other stars. But throughout history people have also used lunar calendars to organize time. As people living in North America/Turtle Island, it is important to learn about how Indigenous peoples observe and think about the Moon. We are going to watch a short video where you will learn the Ojibwe names given to the lunar cycles that make up one year. Please think about the names given to the cycles, and the images you see, and reflect upon how this calendar is different from the one we use in our classroom.
  • Play Annette Lee and William Wilson’s Ojibwe Moons video for the class.
  • When the video concludes, ask students:
    • What stood out to you?
    • How many lunar cycles are there in one year?
    • Did any of the names of the Moons stand out to you? Why?
    • What are the benefits of this kind of calendar?


  • Show students their questions/inquiries chart from Part 3. After reviewing the chart, let them know these inquiries will be guiding the research projects they will be completing about the Moon.
  • Ask students to turn to their neighbour and brainstorm to see if they have any other questions about the Moon that have not been written down yet or whether they have new questions that they would like to include on the list.
  • After five minutes, ask groups to share whether there is anything else they would like to add to the questions/inquiries list.
  • Once the list has been updated and students are satisfied with the listed questions/inquiries, explain the research project to the class.
  • Show students the chart paper with research topics listed on it. Tell students they will select one of the topics from the list and become experts about their topic.
  • Tell students that they will be using the rest of the class time to determine what their final research project will look like and pick their topics. Students will need to work together to decide how they should present their research to their peers, what format(s) they will use to share the information they uncover, and how they will view/learn from each other’s work.
  • Lead a class discussion to determine what their expectations will be for the delivery of their presentations to the class. You may make suggestions, but ideally students will be excited to learn from each other and work together to agree on what “success” will look like. Record and revise ideas on the board so students can see the final set of expectations.


  • Ask students to pick their three preferred topics from the class list and write them down in order on a sheet of paper with their name on it. Tell students you will use these preferences to assign their topics so that all areas will have some students researching them.

Look Fors

  • Are students able to compare/contrast the solar calendar with which they are familiar with to the lunar calendar in the Ojibwe Moons video?
  • Can students brainstorm ideas for presenting their research to classmates? Can they think about their own learning needs and use that awareness to develop class-wide expectations for what everyone’s research projects should include?

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