Our Moon is always the same big white ball going around Earth, but it doesn’t look the same every day. Sometimes it’s a C-shape, while other times it’s a fat white circle. Also, the Moon isn’t always equally far from us. Today’s full moon is exciting because it happens almost exactly when the Moon is closest to us. So the Moon looks about 1/7 bigger and 1/3 brighter than the farthest full moon. On top of that, it will be a total lunar eclipse! That means the Sun, Earth, and Moon will all line up with the Earth in the middle. The Earth blocks the Sun’s light, which gives the Moon a red color!
Wee ones: Hold up your two hands and cup them to make a circle, like tonight’s full moon!
Little kids: The eclipse will begin at 9:36pm New York time, and will last about 3 hours. Will it end today or tomorrow? Bonus: There won’t be another lunar eclipse until 2021. How many years away is that from 2019?
Big kids: This month’s full moon is the Wolf Moon. If there’s also a Worm Moon, Beaver Moon, and Sturgeon Moon, what fraction of the 12 full moons are named for animals? Bonus: Can you simplify that fraction?
Wee ones: Make a circle with your hands.
Little kids: It will end tomorrow, since it will go past midnight. Bonus: 2021 is 2 years from 2019.
Big kids: 4/12 full moons are named for animals. Bonus:1/3.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.