Solar Eclipse

Discover how the sun creates shadows. What happens in space during a solar eclipse?

A timelapse photo of a partial solar eclipse.
Credit: NASA/Jamie Adkins

Bear's Shadow - Activity Outline PDF
Explore the idea of shadows with younger kids. How does the sun create a shadow on an object or person? How can you move that shadow by moving the source of light? The original activity is paired with a storybook you can check out from a library loan or find a video of someone reading it online or even recreate it yourself.

Big Sun, Small Moon  - Activity Outline PDF
Discover how we can see a solar eclipse on Earth. Try this activity with any different sized balls you have on hand. Get pairs of students involved and break apart into multiple groups if you have enough objects on hand.

Solar Eclipse - Activity Outline PDF
Visually demonstrate how the shadow of the moon moves over the earth during an eclipse. You can use those same different sized balls from the lesson mentioned above to represent the Earth and moon, but this time the students use a flashlight to represent the sun. This can help explain why seeing a solar eclipse is much less common than a lunar eclipse. You can also switch the objects around and show how a lunar eclipse happens when the moon travels through the earth's shadow.

Corona Art  - Activity Outline PDF
The sun has an atmosphere and the uppermost part of that atmosphere is what we call the corona. This corona is not visible except during a solar eclipse. This art activity works well as a wrap-up on a unit about the sun or can be tied to the northern lights by talking about how the corona ejects particles into space as solar wind. To extend this activity, uncover the sun's corona and explore solar weather.

Kinesthetic Astronomy - Activity Outline PDF
Get up and moving as they act out the orbits of planets around the sun. This activity will help illustrate the seasons and the nature of equinoxes and solstices. Talk about experiences they might have in different seasons.

An artist's drawing of the sun, with the Moon's shadow partially eclipsing it.


NASA Space Science Education Consortium logo.This project was funded under NASA cooperative agreement NNX16AL65A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
All photos from NASA unless otherwise credited.