I happened to walk into a fourth grade class the other day and they were hard at work making moon phase boxes. They were totally adorable and the kids were completely into it. The teacher very kindly let me take some pictures (thank you Mrs. Parker!) and add to my blog.
Students would need a shoe box and they need to cover the inside and inside lid with black construction paper. Using fishing wire they would hang a ping pong ball in the center of the lid so it is suspended in the center of the box. They then take a flashlight and trace the light end on one of the short ends of the box and then create viewing flaps in the middle of every side (including the one with the light bulb (but that might be slightly off center). It is important that the viewing areas are flaps and not cut directly out (you need to keep the light coming into the box blocked as much as possible).
The teacher used a box cutter to cut the flaps and flashlight hole for the children. I probably would have had students do the cutting and get a parent volunteer to oversee the safety of that station. I am a big believer in letting children do things like cutting (it gives them confidence and makes it easier on me :)
Once it is complete you put the lid on and put the flashlight in the hole. When you look through the viewing stations you will see the ping ball is lit up like the main phases of the moon (only four phases).
Seemed like a very doable project to add into an astronomy unit.