A solar eclipse is a great learning opportunity for space systems and Earth-sun-moon. Humans have been observing eclipses for millennia, and they were often explained with dragons, omens, and disturbance of gods. We have learned enough about them to predict them and collect data!
Safety note: Be sure to explain safety precautions to children. Eye protection is critically important during a solar eclipse. It is never safe for your eyes to look directly at the sun. Glasses for watching the eclipse will only be safe if they are marked with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.
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- UNC-TV Science Solar Eclipse: Lesson Plan
- Montana Eclipse Ballooning Project Eclipse Related Lesson Plans
- Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education The Great American Eclipse
- University of California Eye on the Sky Eclipse: Using a Classroom Model to Explore the Moon’s Shadow
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory How to make a Pinhole Camera
- White cardstock
- Paper clip
- Solar eclipse glasses
- Styrofoam ball
- Ping pong ball
- Earth globe
- Meter stick
- Fishing line
Content: Earth and space sciences, Earth’s place in the universe, eclipses of the sun and moon, sun’s radiation, motion of orbiting objects; use, synthesize, and develop models
When the sun, moon, and earth line up just the right way, we see a shadow. There are lunar and solar eclipses. Total: the moon covers the sun and we can see the sun’s atmosphere. Partial: the moon partially covers the sun, so only a portion of the sun is covered. Annular: the moon is covering the sun, but because of the angles, the sun is not completely covered.
Resource links for eclipse
- NASA’s solar eclipse page has wonderful tools for past and future eclipses
- How to make a sun viewer from NASA
- How to view a solar eclipse from Exploratorium
- Eclipse page from Exploratorium
- Solar eclipse resources from American Astronomical Society
- For Educators from Stanford Solar Center
Images citation: Image Gallery. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA Total Eclipse, https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/image-gallery. See NASA Media Usage Guidelines https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/guidelines/index.html