For the last few weeks, I've been mentoring a fabulous student teacher. She has been gradually taking over more subject areas, and later this week, she'll be teaching everything. I really enjoy having the opportunity to work with student teachers because they bring a lot of enthusiasm to the classroom, and they often have really creative lessons. My current student teacher is no exception.
Recently, we studied the phases of the moon, and I was blown away by her visual model. Using black foam board, ping pong balls, Sharpies, and hot glue, she was able to create a really great interactive model to reinforce the concept.
To use this model, students would actually put their heads in the cut out part of the middle (and I wish I'd taken pictures of that before she took it home!). From there, they could turn their bodies (or rotate) to see the moon from different angles. When their heads weren't in the middle, however, they were able to recognize that half of the moon was always light -- the half facing the sun, and half of the moon was always dark as it faced away from the sun. It was a great way to see that the only things that are really changing are the location and perspective.
I'm not sure where/how she came up with this idea, but I will definitely be building my own version of this model to use in future years! The kids loved taking turns being the Earth in the middle of it.