Phases of Learning

One evening last week my 6-year-old daughter and I ran out to Dairy Queen to get treats and bring them home for everyone. It was around 6:30, and as we drove east on 17th Avenue it was still fairly light outside but the moon was already visible. It was nearly full; it was full a night or so later.

My daughter saw the moon and called out from the back seat of the Jeep, “Hey! Why is the moon so big already? It’s not supposed to be like that until it’s darker!”

For a long minute I struggled to figure out what she meant. Then it dawned on me. She thinks that the moon starts out as a sliver when the sun first goes down, “grows” to full by the middle of the night, then shrinks down to a sliver right before dawn, when it disappears completely.

“Oh, so, it’s going to get bigger as it gets darker?” I asked.

“Yep,” she replied, matter-of-factly.

“And then it gets smaller before the sun comes up tomorrow?”

“Uh-huh,” she said. “That’s why I don’t get why it’s so big right now. It’s not supposed to be yet.”

“You’re right, Honey,” I said seriously, hiding my grin. “I don’t know, either.”

 

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