How Far Away Is the Moon?

Does the space shuttle have an odometer? Maybe, but all that is needed to determine the distance to the moon is a little geometry! The lesson asks scholars to sketch the relationship of the Earth and moon using shadows of an eclipse. Using these measurements and similar triangle criteria, pupils calculate the distance to the moon using the same process the Greeks used. 

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Have the class research the lunar eclipse and create drawings before the lesson
  • Assign the problem set to collaborative groups; record work on the board to check for understanding
Classroom Considerations

  • Spend time developing an understanding of a lunar eclipse and shadow creation
  • The twentieth lesson in a series of 36
Pros

  • Uses a multi-disciplinary approach to applying geometry concepts
  • The provided teacher guide offers a thorough explanation for those unfamiliar with the process
Cons

  • None