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Spaceship Earth    Mystery 11

Solareclipsethumbnail

Teach about the upcoming solar eclipse! If you have questions about the eclipse, read our eclipse FAQ.

Why are people making such a big deal about the solar eclipse?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 4)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 4)

DISCUSS:

What could make it get dark in the middle of the day?

CHALLENGE (for older students):

If you were an astronaut in space looking down at the United States during the eclipse, what would you see?

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 4)
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Beginning Activity Prep

Activity: It's Time to Watch the Eclipse!

If you have eclipse glasses, discuss safety procedures before distributing the glasses. Then line up and head outside to watch the eclipse!

If you don’t have eclipse glasses, have your students follow these instructions to construct a pinhole projector.

If it’s cloudy, you can watch a live stream of the eclipse, courtesy of NASA & the Exploratorium.

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Activity Prep

  1. Use the Eclipse Time Checker to figure out exactly what time the eclipse will be visible on Monday, August 21.

  2. Order eclipse glasses for your students. Our own limited supplies of free eclipse glasses has now run out, so we recommend following these instructions to find a map of libraries that might donate them to students, or to find a list of retailers still selling them.

  3. If you're not able to get eclipse glasses, have students work in pairs to construct pinhole projectors. For each pair of students you need to:

Beginning Exploration (4 of 4)

Class Discussion / Wrap Up After Eclipse

Ask the students to explain & discuss what surprised them, what they found out that was new, and any misconceptions that were cleared up by completing the investigation. Ask them questions like:

  • What surprised you?

  • What did you find out that was new?

  • Was there anything you thought before, but learned something different after watching the video?

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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.

  • Activity: Step-by-Step Instructions for having students make pinhole projectors
  • Live Webcast: If it’s cloudy, you can watch a live stream of the eclipse, courtesy of NASA & the Exploratorium.
  • Online resource: This interactive website allows students to see how many eclipses are left in their lifetimes.
  • Readings: Two readings about the solar eclipse.
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Beginning Activity Prep
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Beginning Activity: Watch Eclipse 2017
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Beginning Activity: Watch Eclipse 2017
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Beginning Activity: Watch Eclipse 2017
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Beginning Activity: Watch Eclipse 2017
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Beginning Activity: Watch Eclipse 2017
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Beginning Activity: Watch Eclipse 2017
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Readings

Readworks and Newsela offer readings free with registration. All include comprehension questions:

“Private Citizens Getting a Chance to Help NASA Study a Solar Eclipse”. This Common Core-aligned reading is free with registration on Newsela. It includes comprehension questions to be downloaded separately.

"Eclipses" This Common Core-aligned reading is free with registration on ReadWorks. It includes comprehension questions to be downloaded separately.

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