TerraLuna is a 15-day unit of inquiry-based lessons that lets your students explore the surface features of the Moon and the Earth, investigating how these two worlds formed and continue to evolve. Features MoonMappers, and real lunar exploration. ages 11+
Making craters, modeling the lunar highlands, recreating the early molten surface of the Moon–all this and more in TerraLuna, the first set of classroom lessons from CosmoQuest! TerraLuna is a 15-day unit of inquiry-based lessons that lets your students explore the surface features of the Moon and the Earth, investigating how these two worlds formed and continue to evolve. Along the way, they’ll participate in real science as they help lunar scientists map the surface of the Moon with MoonMappers, an online citizen science project that lets the public analyze real data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. These lessons have been approved by NASA Product Review for educational resources and are aligned to several sets of science standards: NGSS, NSES, and Project 2061.
You can download the entire set of materials as a pdf HERE! (or docx)
Includes activities and lessons on:
- geologic history
- craters and impacts
This unit also comes with evaluation tools to help you reach your classroom goals.
Please try all or some of it with your students and let us know what you think by completing the short survey at the end of the unit. Or just drop us an email at educate [at] cosmoquest.org.
Terraluna is featured on NASA Wavelength, the digital library of resources developed through funding of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD).
Lesson Plan Breakdown
Just covering one or a few of these topics? Find individual daily lessons and activities below. Many pdf files reference links to videos, website resources, and further activity links.
- Why the Moon? (pdf) (docx) and Activity Images (pdf) – Students will compare and contrast surface features of the Earth and Moon.
- Origins of Moon and Earth (pdf) (docx) – Students will make predictions about the origin of lunar rocks by collecting, describing, and classifying neighborhood rocks.
- Differentiation (pdf) (docx) – Students will see how minerals separate from each other during the cooling and remelting of magma
- Volcanism, Lava Flows, and Maria (pdf) (docx) – Students will learn about stratigraphy and lava layering and understand some of the geological processes and resulting structures that form as a result of lava flowing over planetary surfaces.
- Craters and Boulders (pdf) (docx) and Data Sheet (docx) – Students will determine the factors affecting the appearance of impact craters and ejecta. They will learn to differentiate between craters and boulders.
- Highlands (pdf) (docx) – Students will understand the process of plate tectonics in the formation of mountains on Earth and contrast those processes with those that created the lunar highlands. Students will make a model of the Moon?s surface and consider the geologic processes and formation of each area.
- Regolith (pdf) (docx) – Students will investigate the bombardment of micrometeorites on the Moon by making simulated regolith and observing its properties.
- Mapping 1 (pdf) (docx) w/ Activity Images (pdf), scale (pdf), grid (pdf), and overview image (png) – Students will identify and measure features of craters to determine relative ages of the lunar surface. Construct explanations for patterns in geologic evidence to determine the relative ages of a sequence of events that have occurred in Earth?s past.
- Mapping 2 (pdf) (docx) – Students will be introduced to the Moon Mappers website.
- Anomalies (pdf) (docx) – Students will investigate and explain various lunar anomalies: moonquakes, absence of volcanoes, number of maria on the far and near sides of the moon, and magnetic fields.
- Exploration (pdf) (docx) – Students will learn about the locations and geology of the six Apollo landing sites.
- Marking Craters (pdf) (docx) – Students will practice identification of lunar craters on the Moon Mappers web site.
Additional resources that pertain to the entire unit or its parts:
- TerraLuna introduction for educators (pdf) (docx)
- TerraLuna Overview (pdf) (docx)
- Materials List (pdf) (docx)
- Lunar Vocabulary (pdf) (docx)
- Featured Links (pdf) (docx)
- Assessments (pdf) (docx)
- Educator Survey (pdf) (docx)
More Lunar Resources
- MoonMappers on CosmoQuest
- Exploring the Moon Educator Guide by NASA (pdf) – Many of the activities used in TerraLuna are from this excellent teachers’ guide to the Moon.
- On the Moon! Educators Guide (pdf) – More activities from TerraLuna come from this guide developed by NASA and PBS.
- Google Moon – an interactive map of the Moon with layers for the Apollo landers, elevation, and links to topographical charts of the surface.
- United States Geological Survey charts of the lunar surface.
- CosmoQuest guide to lunar surface features.
- LRO Educator Resource Kit – Several lessons developed to explore the technology and science behind the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
- New Moon Toolkit – Educator resources for exploring our changing understanding of the Moon.
Questions? Email us at educate[at]cosmoquest[dot]org.