Earth / Space Science: Create An Animated Moon Phase Disc Using Keynote for iPad

This activity is for teachers of Earth & Space Science, on the topic of Moon Phases.

Depending on students' skill level with iPad, Apple Pencil and Keynote, it make take one to two 45-min class-periods.

The objective of this activity is for the students to create a short animated movie which allows them to jump between different locations of the Moon as it travels around the Earth, and which demonstrates that Moon phases are the result of Earth-bound viewers seeing the sunlit part of the Moon from different angles.

There is a Keynote file attached to this post, which provides the blank template. The video tutorial below explains this activity in detail. Much of it involves using Apple Pencil to add shadow effects to various parts of the Moon, and to assign those shadow effects names (waxing crescent, etc.). Once the shadow effects are complete and the phase names are labeled, a previously-hidden disc is brought from the back of the slide to the front, which hides all of the Moon phases but displays one phase at a time through a window in the disc.

Then, the Magic Move animation is applied, the slide is duplicated, and the disc is rotated to the next position. This is repeated for all eight positions of the Moon, so that, when played back in Presentation mode, the window in the disc pauses at each individual location. Lastly, this presentation is exported as a short movie, and the students can access that movie in Photo Library and move the playhead back and forth to demonstrate and review the various locations of the Moon around the earth, and their corresponding Moon phase names. I hope you find this activity beneficial!


1 reply

August 31, 2022

Very timely Ben since all things Moon are now in the news. Very creative way for students to learn about Moon Phases.

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