Somewhere in the world, there is a total solar eclipse about every 18 months! Why do these occur? How can you get students excited about them? What are activities you can do with your entire class (or maybe your bored middle school student at home)? If you are looking for answers to these questions, you have come to the right place! Read through the 20 eclipse activities listed below to spice up your lessons!
1. Video Explaining Science and History
This interesting educational video is a great way to introduce students to solar eclipses because it explains some history behind eclipses and then the science behind them. Create a short fill-in-the-blanks worksheet for the kids to fill in as they watch the video to make sure they are following along and retaining the information!
Learn more: Science ABC
2. Pi in Sky Challenge
This cool STEM challenge developed by NASA is great for teaching about space and solar eclipses using pi to solve problems that scientists and engineers do to explore space! Saving you hours of lesson prep, there is a full lesson plan that is perfect to use on Pi Day!
Learn more: Vatican Observatory
3. Lunar Eclipse Models
Follow this fun lesson on how to build a solar eclipse model. The great thing about this 3D model is that any student can build one using clay, wire, and a couple of other materials. Put students into groups to make this a cooperative project.
Learn more: DIY Projects
4. Solar Eclipse from Earth and Space
This very short video is a great one to show middle schoolers as it describes the processes of a lunar eclipse and then shows what an eclipse looks like from both the earth and in space. It starts by giving knowledge of moon phases and then explains the different things that need to happen in order for a lunar eclipse to take place.
Learn More: PBS Learning Media
5. Cereal Box Camera Obscura
To view a solar eclipse, you must have protective eyewear, like solar eclipse glasses or camera obscuras. Have students create their own camera obscuras by bringing in empty cereal boxes. They'll be recycling while creating a safe way to view an eclipse!
Learn more: JDaniel4's Mom
6. Eclipses in the Classroom
Looking for other ways to build models? Then look no further than this fun activity. This is the perfect resource for background information on eclipses and then information on how to build both lunar and solar eclipses!
Learn more: Science in School
7. Vocabulary Flashcards
After you have introduced the different vocabulary terms on this site, there are two ways to do this activity. 1. Have students go online and test their knowledge of these terms (this is perfect for the digital classroom), or 2. Have students create their own physical flashcards of these terms to quiz themselves and their classmates.
8. Lunar Eclipse Treats
Who doesn't love Oreos? Have students use these delicious treats to create a moon phases chart! They will learn the different phases while at the same time enjoying a yummy snack!
Learn more: Learning Resources
9. Moon Phases Spinner
Turn every student into an artist and a scientist with this fun classroom activity that reinforces their previous knowledge of moon phases. Once they have finished their spinners, they will be able to spin their way through each of the phases of the moon.
Learn more: Lunar Learners
10. Big Sun, Small Moon
11. Historical Eclipse Worksheet
Give each student a copy of the attached worksheet. Then provide them with a list of different significant eclipses they can research. They can fill out the worksheets based on the information they find and share their discoveries with their classmates.
Learn more: Elementary School Science
12. Moon Journals
A moon journal is a good way to get kids interested in the phases of the moon and to understand the changes it goes through during the month. Use this educational resource to have them track the moon through its phases for an entire month. And hey, who doesn't like an excuse to stare up into the night sky each night?
Learn more: Static
13. Make Your Own Solar Eclipse
Using an orange, a ball of clay, and a flashlight, create an eclipse in your classroom! This will allow students to see how an eclipse works firsthand. You can provide them with a few reflection questions to gauge their understanding of the processes at work.
Learn more: Teacher Vision
14. Labeling Worksheet
Have students label the different celestial beings and forces at work during an eclipse using this simple worksheet. You can also pair them up and have them use poster boards to create posters using this model so you can hang them around the classroom.
Learn more: Enchanted Learning
15. Total, Partial, or Annular Eclipse
What's the difference between a total and partial eclipse? What is an annular eclipse? Discuss each of these with your students and then have them do this quick worksheet.
Learn more: Twinkl
16. Sun Prints
The human eye cannot see UV rays, so use this activity to illustrate to students their power by taping leaves, flowers, etc to a piece of paper and leaving their papers in the sun for a few hours to show them the processes at work and why they need protective eyewear to watch a solar eclipse!
Learn more: Natural History Museum
17. Pop a Balloon
Another activity that shows students the power of the sun is this simple one that uses just a balloon, magnifying glass, and sun rays. The focused spot of the sun will be very bright, so sunglasses are encouraged.
Learn more: Scholastic
18. Paper Mache Sun, Moon, and Earth
This activity involves creating a paper Mache solar system, which you could totally do, or you could have students just create the celestial beings in play during an eclipse. Either way, paper Mache is always fun!
Learn more: Kansal Creation
19. Sun Weaving
Have each student create their own sun with visible beams coming off of it! After, display their artwork around the classroom! Hang them from the ceiling for an even cooler effect!
Learn more: Nurture Store
20. Make a Sundial
Discuss with students how people used to use sundials to tell time. Discuss what ancient people must have thought when the sun went away temporarily in the middle of the day, making their sundials go dark!
Learn more: Sci Show Kids