Eclipse Education

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Eclipse Related Lesson Plans:

The following lesson plans were created by undergraduate pre-service educators through the Pre-Service Educator Eclipse Competition project (PSEEC project). Pre-service education students created lesson plans to highlight total solar eclipses and the Earth-Sun-Moon relationship for seventh and/or ninth grade earth science/physical science classes. These lesson plans and activities meet NGSS and are the culmination of a semester’s worth of work from undergraduate education students with their mentors, project coordinators and educational experts and grad students. Below you can view and download PDFs of the lessons with accompanying activities, resources, etc..

LP3 – Eclipse Unit created by Rachel Amento and Lindsay Waack: This lesson serves as a pre-activity to a model-based unit. If the scientific skill of modeling has not been explicitly taught or used frequently in your classroom, it is suggested that you complete this lesson first with your students so they understand how to use this skill as they go through the unit. Students learn what the scientific skill of modeling is and what makes a model good through completing a station activity. Each station will have different examples of models explaining the phenomenon of moon phases. Students will work in small groups to identify which models they believe are the best and what aspects of the model makes them the best.

LP2 – Total Solar Eclipse Unit created by Loreli Lawrence and Rachel Hartmann: Students first explore the solar eclipse phenomena from a cultural perspective. In groups, student’s research legends related to the solar eclipse of ancient cultures and share what they learned with the class by acting them out. A class chart will be created to compare the legends from different cultures. Next, students will move into understanding the solar eclipse from a scientific perspective. Students will create a model of the solar eclipse to explore the unique relationship between the sun, the earth, and the moon that results in solar eclipses, with a focus on proportions and distances between the sun, moon, and earth. Integrating mathematics, students engage in an arithmetic exercise using shadows, measurements, and similar triangles to determine how the sun creates shadows on earth. This unit not only aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards, but also the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understanding Standards.

LP1 – NGSS Lesson Planning Template (Eclipses) created by Dan Deal: Knowledge is power and our history illustrates this with the utmost clarity. With history in mind, I think the question, “What can eclipses tell us?,” pushes students to really consider the evidence that we can gather from these events. Additionally, it provides an advantage for those who know how to predict these events over those who do not (e.g., Columbus versus the Jamaicans and Ottomans versus Byzantines). Eclipses have also given us supporting evidence for the theory of general relativity. In 1919, during a solar eclipse, researchers from Great Britain observed light, from distant stars, bending from the gravitational pull of the Sun. The first question opens the door to the unpacking of the concept of eclipse: obscuring of light by a celestial body from another celestial body. So this begs the question, “What types of eclipses exist?” By identifying the types of eclipses we can gather data from more common occurrences. For instance, simply observing the Milky Way reveals a large, illuminated area with a cloudy, or milky, texture. The gases, dust, and stars are arranged in such a way where eclipsing is evident and observers see the smoky, cloudy, or milky phenomena.


eclipse_logo_wNASA’s Eclipse 2017 page! – A great overall resource for all things eclipse 2017

Stay up to date with our star, the Sun, using Helioviewer. Check out up to date solar data on your own computer!

Check out our Moon and learn all the new and amazing things brought to us by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.


Eclipse Resource Guide for teachers, students, and the public at the nonprofit Astronomical Society of the Pacific website: http://www.astrosociety.org/eclipse

Learn more about the 2017 total solar eclipse!