Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Phases of the Moon Activity: Homemade Oreo Cookie Recipe (Yum!!)

We had a lot of fun with this part of our astronomy unit.We talked about the phases of the moon. We started off with a lamp and held an egg in our hand. Then we moved the egg slowly around, watching how the shadow on the egg changed as the egg moved relative to the earth/our eyes.  We all took turns slowly watching the shadows on the egg change (photo blend below).  Then we pulled out some readings and read about the different names of these shadows... half moon, crescent moon, gibbous moon, etc.

We filled out a worksheet (photo above) and went on to the Phases of the Moon lapbook pages below. I didn't like this lapbook quite as much as the others because it didn't include the gibbous phase (look at the egg collage: middle picture/top row) when there's a lot of light and only a sliver of shadow. I printed out the worksheet from the teacherfile box (all the Evan Moor books available as printables such as history pockets, take it to your seat science centers and more).  I got my subscription for 30% off from homeschool buyers coop. You can also make your own Homeschool IDs there.
Next we went on to showing the light and shadows on oreo cookies. I've seen this activity done with "real" oreos (sorry can't remember when or where), but I've had this homemade oreo recipe to try out for two years.  This is the first time we actually used it. Oh my goodness, those cookies were awesome!! I'll share the recipe below.  First, here are oreo moon phases:

First we followed the sheet exactly, making sure the light and shadows were aligned properly.  Then we started with the full moon at the top and I had the kids try to figure out what came next (picture below). They had to concentrate pretty hard to do this.
Homemade Oreos:
And now the recipe:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (it called for "Dutch process cocoa, I used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used 1 1/4)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons room-temperature unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)
1 large egg

Place very small spoonfuls of batter on the greased cookie pan.  Be sure not to make the blobs too large because they flatten and spread out a lot. Since we made ours into proper looking oreos (cream in the middle) after this activity, the cookies wound up huge (larger then I wanted the kids to be eating in one sitting).

Bake for 9 minutes at 375.

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The print out has been in my recipe box forever, but there is a tribute: "Adapted from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman." Again, sorry I don't have an original link.


  1. GOod timing on this post as my little ones are going to learn about the moon today. i saw the oreo activity on Almost Unschoolers. Your homemade ones look delicious.

  2. Thanks, we are planning this unit for next week. I love the oreo idea.
    Sippy Cup Central

  3. We're revisiting the moon with our My Father's World curriculum and were planning on doing Oreo phases of the moon. I love the homemade version.

  4. Just hopped over from Pinterest and I had to comment to say how much I love your blog. It is a real treat.