Lesson Plan Outline for Kidseclipse


This site has been designed to give your class an overview of astronomy and help them understand why a Total Solar Eclipse can happen. Each section leads with a simple question which is answered through the use of words, pictures, animations and activities. Each section requires approximately 5 minutes, each activity varies.

Dolores Peterson was a New York City School Teacher in Community School District 3 for nine years when she produced this lesson plan for Kidseclipse. She has a Masters in Education from the City University of New York.

How do the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon move?

This section explains the solar system and its movement with animation and fun.

What is an eclipse?

This section, with its activity using an orange, grape and flashlight, is a simple way to show how an eclipse happens.

What is a total solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse can happen only because of the unique size and distance measurements of our Moon and Sun. By using a beach ball and a tennis ball (or dodge ball and softball), this activity gives the opportunity to spell out our unique solar system.

What happens during a total solar eclipse?

With simple photographs, we see the various stages of a total solar eclipse.

What are the safety facts?

This section is full of warnings, but even with these, children will want to look directly at the Sun. Our activity on how to build a pinhole projector is easy and fun. The Materials needed are a rectangular cardboard box (any size, even a refrigerator box will work!), aluminum foil, scotch or masking tape and a razor blade knife (only to be used by an adult!) Many pages throughout are site are linked to this page. Safety must be stressed.

How do eclipses fit in myths, stories and history?

This section provides fun historical and mythical facts about eclipses. Use them to spark your students interest and have them write their own creative story about the eclipse. Let them share the stories with each other, and pick the best to share with us. We will post several on our site.

How much do you know about our Sun?

This section provides a graphic view with simple facts about our Sun to help the child understand why researchers are studying our solar system’s central body.

How much do you know about our Moon?

This section provides a graphic view with simple facts about our Moon in the same way as the Sun section to help the child gain insight on our closest celestial neighbor.

What is a comet?

Basic information is provided on comets along with a beautiful photograph of the Hale-Bopp comet to show visually the gases that make up a comet’s tail. We also present how a comet travels through our solar system and information is given on Halley’s Comet with a question for the children to answer on when the comet will next visit the Earth.

What are asteroids and meteors?

Basic information is provided with pictures to explain the difference between asteroids and meteors. The teaching section ends with an activity on how to view the night sky.

Glossary of Astronomical Terms

Throughout the teaching section, we have provided links to a glossary page for the child’s benefit. The links will take them directly to the word in question

Once you have taken your children through the teaching section, enter Eclipse99 and share experiences from the Millennial Eclipse in Europe, Asia and the Middle East written by kids on the Path of Totality. Then take the kids back to Aruba for the eclipse of 98 with a Caribbean party thrown in.