Lesson 9A: Eclipses

Estimated Time: Two-45 minute classes

Indicators(s): Core Learning Goal 1

      1. The students will use relationships discovered in the lab to explain phenomena observed outside the laboratory.
      1. The student will use models and computer simulations to extend his/her understanding of scientific concepts.
      1. The student will create and/or interpret graphics (scale drawings, photographs, digital images, etc.).
      2. The student will read a technical selection and interpret it appropriately.

Indicators(s): Core Learning Goal 2

      1. The student will explain the role of natural forces in the universe.

Student Outcome(s):

  1. The student will be able to illustrate an eclipse by describing the relationship among the sun, earth, and moon.
  2. The student will be able to predict the next occurrence of a local eclipse by analyzing data.

Brief Description:

Students will explore the relationship among the sun, earth, and moon and the different types of eclipses. Students will describe ancient stories and myths about eclipses. Students will analyze data to determine when the next solar or lunar eclipse will be visible in the Maryland area. By constructing a model, students will illustrate the positions of the earth, moon, and sun during a solar and lunar eclipse.

Background knowledge / teacher notes:

Students will read accounts of past interpretations of eclipses. Prior to the lesson, download these accounts from http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/dragon.html or http://www.kidseclipse.com/. Click on Teach, then Lesson Plan Outline, choose "How do eclipses fit in myths, stories and history?" Good pictures of eclipses and working models may also be found at this site.



After analyzing the data in the charts, students will note that eclipses occur in a pattern of a solar eclipse followed by a lunar eclipse approximately 15 days later, or a lunar followed by a solar approximately 15 days later. This pattern tends to repeat itself approximately every six months. For more information visit http://www.earthview.com/tutorial/patterns.htm.

 

Lesson Description:

ENGAGE

Read accounts of how people in the past viewed eclipses by visiting http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/dragon.html or http://www.kidseclipse.com/. Click on Teach, then Lesson plan outline, choose "How do eclipses fit in myths, stories and history?"

Describe how people in the past have interpreted eclipses.

In their journals, students will hypothesize causes of eclipses.

Education Elements:

PHOTOGRAPH

This NASA site contains a gif image of a photograph showing a full solar eclipse.

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/Instructional.Materials/Curriculum.Support/Space.Science/Our.Solar.System/Our.Sun/Solar.Eclipse-full.gif

EXPLORE

Students will examine how an eclipse occurs by constructing a model.

  • Each group will need: a flashlight, a 4" Styrofoam ball (Earth), a 1" Styrofoam ball (moon), and 2 pencils.
  • Use the pencils to hold the moon and earth.
  • Students will draw their model and label the parts.

For a description of a set-up similar to this, visit http://www.kidseclipse.com/. Click on Teach, then Lesson Plan Outline and then choose "What is an Eclipse?"

Turn the lights down. Students turn on the flashlight to see the eclipse

Students will draw a picture of the eclipse.

Now using the same materials, generate a different type eclipse.

Students will present their models to the class.

Class will discuss the differences between a solar and lunar eclipse.

Education Elements:

PHOTOGRAPH

This NASA site contains a photograph of the moon and a variety of background information about the moon, moon exploration, and more.

http://spacelink.nasa.gov/Instructional.Materials/NASA.Educational.Products/Solar.System.Lithograph.Set/Moon/.index.html

EXPLAIN

Students will read the articles on eclipses found at

http://www.mreclipse.com/Special/Leprimer.html. or http://members.nbci.com/juan_parada/eclipse/guia/guide3.htm

Answer the following questions:

  • Explain the difference between the umbra and penumbra
  • Explain the difference between partial and total lunar eclipses.
  • Diagram the alignment of the sun, earth and moon during partial, and total lunar eclipses.
  • Why don’t solar and lunar eclipses occur every month?
  • Diagram the alignment of the sun, earth, and moon during partial and total solar eclipses.

GT Connection: Explain the differences among the partial, annular and total solar eclipses.

EXTEND

Place students in groups of four. Subdivide the groups into pairs.

Each pair of students will collect data on either solar and lunar eclipses

Students will construct a chart to record the date and type of solar or lunar eclipses.

GT Connection: include penumbral lunar eclipses and annular solar eclipses.

Solar Eclipse Instructions

  1. Record the date and type of solar eclipse observed from Maryland during 1991 — 2010.
  2. Go to http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/eclipse.html and scroll to "Solar Eclipse Data"
  3. Click on "Table and Maps of Solar Eclipses: 1991-2000"
  4. Examine the Geographic Region of the chart. Select an eclipse that was visible from N. America
  5. Click on the date and view the map. If the eclipse was or will be visible in Maryland, record it in your chart.
  6. Click "Back" and repeat this process for the other eclipses in the chart. Repeat this process for the "Tables and Maps of Solar Eclipses: 2001-2010".
  7. Record the date and type of solar eclipse observed from Maryland during 1991 — 2010.

Lunar Eclipse Instructions

  1. Go to http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/eclipse.html and scroll to "Lunar Eclipse Data"
  2. Click on "Table and Maps of Lunar Eclipses: 1991-2000".
  3. Examine the Geographic Region of the chart. Select an eclipse that was visible from N. America
  4. Click on the date and view the map. If the eclipse was or will be visible in Maryland, record it in your chart.
  5. Click "Back" and repeat this process for the other eclipses in the chart. Repeat this process for the "Tables and Maps of Lunar Eclipses: 2001-2010".

When you are looking for the map of the eclipse, make sure you scroll down in order to see the correct map.

After completing the chart, the students will reform their groups and exchange information.

Students will analyze the data to detect patterns between the occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses.

Record observations in the journal.

Class will discuss perceived patterns and observations.

Education Elements:

FAQ(FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)

This NASA site presents 27 frequently asked questions about eclipses that are each linked to an answer for each question.

http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/faqecl.html

EVALUATE

Have students prepare a brochure advertising the next partial or total eclipse visible in their area. The brochure should include an explanation of the type of eclipse, the best time to view it, and the safest way to view the eclipse.

Materials:

For each group: Computer

Flashlight Internet

4 in. Styrofoam ball

1 in. Styrofoam ball

Pencils

Resources:

Eclipse myths and stories. Available:

http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/dragon.html

http://www.kidseclipse.com/.

Eclipse tutorials. Available:

http://www.earthview.com/tutorial/patterns.htm

http://www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse/why.html

Solar and Lunar eclipses. Available:

http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/eclipse.html

http://www.MrEclipse.com/Special/LEprimer.html

http://members.xoom.com/juan_parada/eclipse/guia/guide0.htm

http://www.drdale.com/eclipses/lunar.htm