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Can You Harvest the Moon?

By Kim Mullin

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The large Harvest Moon is a full moon different from all others in the year. It is followed each year by another "different" moon, the Hunter's Moon. Source: Wikiepedia.


Although most of us don't live on farms, harvest is something we think about in the fall. We decorate with pumpkins, gourds, and multi-colored corn when we celebrate fall holidays. And, in the United States, many of us eat a hearty meal on Thanksgiving Day to commemorate the Pilgrims' first harvest celebration in 1621.

You may have heard of the Harvest Moon, but the moon certainly isn't something we can harvest! It is actually a term to describe the full moon that is closest to the autumnal equinox. It happens at a time of year when farmers are busy harvesting crops—thus the "harvest" moon.


Phases of the Moon

The full moon is only one of the moon's phases during each lunar cycle. You may know that the moon plays a role in the ocean's high and low tides. But does the "phase" of the moon matter? In The Moon and Tides project, students can investigate the correlation between phases of the moon and the tides. Charting the tides in relation to the phases of the moon over a year lets students track the differences in tides during a full moon and a quarter moon, for example.

Do the phases of the moon also effect agriculture? Do plants need moonlight to stay healthy? Do they grow better when planted during a particular phase of the moon?

Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but the Harvest Moon for 2011 happened a few months ago! Still, these are questions students and families might consider as "harvest" comes to the table and the fall harvest season begins to ebb.


Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies Summer Science Roundup


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School and family science weekly spotlight: experiment with tonic water and a black light to learn more about fluorescence and light energy!

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Are you a picky eater? Maybe there is a scientific reason for your reluctance to eat certain foods even if you know they are good for you. Find out with a tongue-dyeing taste-testing science project!

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Catch the annual Perseids meteor shower and tie in some fun family astronomy science with an exploration of parallax. How far away are the things we see in the sky?

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School and family science weekly spotlight: make a solar oven from household and recycled materials.

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With different kinds of dried beans, plastic cups, and water, kids can model rocks and observe the way different sized particles in rocks affect how much water a rock can hold.

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Students can experiment with the engineering design process by trying to improve the durability of a simple handheld device.



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



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