Third Grade: Moon and Sun Journals

January and February are Moon Journal months in Mitchell County schools!

Astronomy and scientific methods are objectives in North Carolina’s Course of Study for third grade. Working with Penland’s Teaching Artist in the Schools and their classroom teacher, every third grader in the county is involved in making and keeping their own personal moon and sun journal – a two-sided journal which they use to document scientific observations about the cycle of the moon and plant life and growth.





These students enjoy the experience of painting with their fingers.



















This student is working on the final stage of assembling his book. It's been a complicated process, involving many steps. Gluing the endpapers into the cover is the last step.

















Students make their own scratchboards (animal hide glue, whiting, India ink) which serve as covers for their moon journals. Here they spread warm gesso on their book boards. They have to work quickly - it dries fast!
















Once the book is bound, students scratch a favorite image of nighttime through the top layer of ink, revealing starlight and moon light below.

















Students draw and write in responses to what they experience each night/morning of the moon’s cycle. Along the way, students notice weather, colors, constellations, sounds, animals, and special events that make each day noteworthy.
















In the spring the students move onto daytime observations of nature and plants. This student has found examples of math concepts in nature and documented them in her book.
























Teaching Artist, Meg Peterson, works with students to collage a few pages in their moon journals. Tissue paper makes nice clouds!

























Pride in Accomplishment!
A lot of picky measurements and sequential directions go into making these books… not so easy!