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10. Eclipse: An Introduction
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See the Activity in Action Summary of Activity:
This lesson introduces the topic of eclipses with a focus on solar eclipses. Students also make entries about eclipses in their Science Journals.

Duration of Activity:
45 minutes.

Student Prerequisites:
This serves as the introduction to eclipses, with a focus on solar eclipses. Basic background information on the orbits of the Sun, Earth and Moon are needed. General information on the Sun is also helpful.

Materials:

  • Pencils
  • Student Science Journals

Books:
B. Aronson’s Nature’s Blackouts, Eclipses.
F. Branley’s Eclipse: Darkness in Daytime (This book is currently out of print, but it is frequently found in libraries. The language is very appropriate for younger readers.)

Teacher Preparation:
Allow time to locate book and journals for student writing.

 

Objectives:

Students will understand that during a total solar eclipse:
  1. The Moon blocks the Sun’s light from viewers on Earth.
  2. It becomes dark during the day.
  3. The Sun’s corona is visible.
  4. People used to become frightened during a solar eclipse, but now we understand what causes eclipses and astronomers can predict them.

View National Standards AddressedGrade Level:
Grades 1-3

Procedure:

Reading and Questioning

  1. Using a KWL Chart, investigate what students know about eclipses. List items in the first column (What we Know).
  2. Ask students if they have any questions about eclipses.
  3. You may want to model how to ask questions for your students. A list of question words (who, what, when, where, why, how) is a helpful language prompt in the classroom. List 3 or 4 questions in the second column (What we Want to Know).
  4. Introduce the topic of eclipses by reading Aronson’s Nature’s Blackouts, Eclipses or F. Branley’s Eclipse: Darkness in Daytime.
  5. Ask students to raise hands if they hear an important vocabulary word to add to the "Science Word Wall" in the class. New vocabulary may include items such as: eclipse, solar corona, shadow, and telescope.
  6. Review the questions students generated and ask if anyone can answer any of the questions after the reading. Place students’ answers in the last column of the KWL chart (What we have Learned).
  7. Ask if there are any new questions. Add them to the chart and encourage students to look for answers in their reading and discussions.

Writing

  1. Ask students to make entries in their Science Journals using the following three prompts:
    • What did you study today?
    • What are some new things you learned today?
    • What questions do you have about what you learned?

Assessment:
The journal entries will give a good indication of what students have learned about eclipses and questions they have about the topic.

Bibliography:
See related books and websites.

Let Us Know:
How did this lesson work in your classroom?

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