diagram showing different moon phases

Phases of the Moon – Labeling Activity

In this activity, students who are blind or visually impaired will build the phases of the Moon and label them.

This activity is designed to be used in conjunction with other Moon Phases activities on this site.  It should follow the Moon Phases Tactile Graphic and the Moon Phases active model and should be part of a 2nd or 3rd day of instruction on the Phases of the Moon.

In this activity, students will review the phases of the Moon by building a smaller scale version of the Moon Phases Tactile Graphic.



  1. Using a sharpie and a small dixie cup, draw the 8 circles to represent the phases of the Moon. (See picture below. ) on a sheet of copy paper (8.5″X11″) .  When the sheet is horizontally displayed, Full Moon is on the left hand side of the page and New Moon on the right.
  1. As per the picture draw the appropriate phases of the Moon by sliding the Dixie cup over or by drawing a vertical line from the top to the bottom of the circle
  2. Using a PIAF machine and swell paper, produce a raised-line image. If a PIAF is not available, a hot glue gun can be used to make the raised-line drawings.
  3. Carefully cut out the sandpaper to indicate the lighted portion of the Moon in each phase.  See picture below.
Moon phases template
Moon phases template


Remind the students thay they have been learning about the phases of the Moon and that today they will have the chance to build their own phases of the Moon and show what they have learned.  If appropriate, review briefly from the raised-line image or picture in the book.

  1. Pass out the blank phases of the Moon raised line and the appropriately cut pieces of sandpaper.
  2. Orient the students to the raised line by starting with New Moon and explaining the position of the Sun relative to the Moon and Earth.The Sun’s rays are coming from the right given the orientation of the raised-line. (See picture.)
  3. Describe each phase begining with waxing crescent and discussing which portion would be lit in each phase. 
  4. Students will glue down sandpaper to each phase as explanation of each phase is given.
  5. After building the phases of the Moon, the students will make labels in braille to attach to the page.  Large print students will write labels on the page.


Large print students may color in the unlit portion of the Moon on an unlabeled copy rather than utilizing raised-line and sandpaper.

NGSS Standards:

Middle School – Space Systems

ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars- Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained  with models. (MS-ESS1-1)

This activity was designed by Jim Clark.

By Laura Hospitál

Collage of phases of the moon

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