Eclipses

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The lesson introduces students to solar and lunar eclipses.  Most students have heard the term “eclipse” used but many students may not understand the difference between solar and lunar eclipses, or what takes place during an eclipse.  There is often confusion between the two, and sometimes there are “facts” that are misstated, which further confuse students.  A hands-on activity using a flashlight, and objects to represent the sun, moon, and earth should be used to help students “see” an eclipse of the sun and moon.  The lesson may also be used in conjunction with lessons related to the moon and sun.

Eclipses Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Eclipses
  • Hands-on homework activities giving students practice on identifying  different types of Eclipses
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 3-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

The lesson provides the exact information students need to understand the science term eclipse.  Though they have probably heard the term, they are unlikely to know its exact definition, including the fact that solar and lunar eclipses are two different phenomena.  The confusion between these two terms is not helped by frequent misuse of the terms on the Internet, and this lesson helps clarify those misunderstandings, with hands-on activities students can complete using flashlights and other classroom objects.  The lesson can be used in conjunction with lessons related to the moon and sun.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Ask students: What is the same or different about the moon, sun, and earth?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. Ask: What is it called when sunlight or light from the moon is blocked?
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce Eclipses.  Ask students if they have ever witnessed an eclipse in person.
  4. Allow for responses and discussion.
  5. Distribute Eclipses content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  6. Distribute Activity pages. Read and review the instructions. Pair students.  Distribute construction paper and colored pencils, markers.  Encourage students to work together and to share the responsibilities for the activity.  Circulate through the room to ensure students remain on task.
  7. Once all students have completed the work, schedule each pair of students to read aloud and share their myths with the class.
  8. Remind students they will vote using the different categories from the activity page.
  9. Tabulate the results of the secret ballot voting and announce the winners.
  10. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.  Ask students to correct the false statements.

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.7, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.7, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6.7

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 3 class sessions

Additional Resources: 

Want more science resources? Check out our other Science Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Science