I know today is such an exciting day with children! They get to witness The Great American Solar Eclipse! My daughter has texted me three times trying to get me to pick her up early because “No one else is in school Mom!” Don’t worry! If you didn’t get a chance to experience the real thing with your NASA approved glasses, you can still make the eclipse a great “hook” for a lesson! Students can learn about he motion of the earth, and moon as they travel around the sun. Here is a simple and effective way for free to teach them the rotation. Get a ball to represent the moon, a globe, and a flashlight to represent the sun. Turn off the lights. Have the student who is the “SUN” with the flashlight, shine it on the globe. Next, have the ball, “moon” rotate around the sun slowly, blocking the sun from the earth. Ask questions here to generate thinking. “What do you think the moon looks like? Where is the shadow?” Then, for older kids, have the earth rotate around the sun with the moon still rotating around the earth. They will get a good understanding of the rotation from this activity. You can do this with printable hats as well.
You can spend the whole week learning about shadows, rotation, gravity and more! Use this week unit on the solar eclipse to captivate your students all week. It’s a great opportunity to really hook your students into developing a love for science with this Great American Solar Eclipse, so use it. After all, it’s been 99 years since the last one! Get the students involved in celebrating their PLACE in SPACE!