The Moon Project: Student Research and Lesson Design in an Introductory Geoscience Course for Pre-service Teachers
I have developed a hands-on guided-discovery course for future teachers that includes a semester-long research project about the moon. This project, which is designed to give students the experience of conducting a long-term scientific investigation, requires students to make daily naked-eye observations of the moon and construct graphs of given data (such as moonrise/set times and dates of moon phases) in order to discover and demonstrate a variety of phenomena related to the moon.
Once students have discovered, discussed, and visualized their way to an understanding of various concepts relating to the moon, they develop and teach a hands-on guided-discovery lesson on those concepts to their classmates. Finally, they write a teacher's guide that explains the concepts and could show other teachers how to replicate the lesson.
Assessment of students' understanding of the moon and their self-reported evaluations of the moon project experience demonstrate that, although it is challenging and at times frustrating, it is a unique and valuable educational experience for the students.
Bykerk-Kauffman, A. (2008). The Moon Project: Student Research and Lesson Design in an Introductory Geoscience Course for Pre-service Teachers. Journal of Geoscience Education, 56(5), 434–439. https://doi.org/10.5408/jge_nov2008_bykerk_377