An eclipse is a great opportunity to leverage student excitement into real, interdisciplinary learning. In particular, there are great opportunities to promote interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects are to show linkages between these subjects and literacy, history, culture, and the arts. You can find many outstanding activities on the web, but to get you started, we’ve included a few here below, divided into three main categories.
Activities to Start Before Eclipse Day
Activities relating to observing the eclipse. You’ll want to start these activities before eclipse day, so that students can make use of them on the day of the eclipse.
- Pinhole Camera Activity (grades 3+). This activity helps students build their own pinhole camera from a milk carton and use it both to explore the optical principles involved and to view the eclipse on eclipse day.
- Dynamic Art Activity (all grade levels). This activity asks students to create an artistic design by projecting images of the Sun through multiple pinholes. It is very simple and fun!
- Photography Activity (grades 5+). For those who want to photograph the eclipse, this activity will help you get started.
Post-Eclipse Interdisciplinary Activities
Activities that will help students build upon their eclipse experience. These activities link the eclipse to literacy, poetry, culture, history, and more.
- Cultural Significance Project (all grades). This project, which varies for different grade levels, asks students to explore at least one culture’s ancient beliefs about eclipses.
Eclipse Science Activities
Activities that focus more on the science behind eclipses, including understanding how eclipses occur and the unique aspects of the Earth-Moon system that make total eclipses possible.
- Using Shadow Measurement (grades 8-12). Students explore the use of similar triangles to measure a tall object of unknown height.
- Exploring Shadows (grades 8-12). Students explore principles of shadows in a controlled setting.
Additional Activity Resources
We hope you’ll enjoy the above activities, which we developed ourselves for Big Kid Science. But there are many more activities that you can find at other sources. Here are a few that we can highly recommend.
- The Night Sky Network offers this great set of activities. We especially recommend the “Yardstick Eclipse Activity” to help students understand upcoming eclipses.
- NASA has this great set of activities for a variety of age groups.
- The Universe Awareness team has created numerous great activities, including some related to eclipses.
- The Astronomers Without Borders Eclipse STEM Education Program has particularly great resources for building upon the excitement of the eclipse to promote student interest and advancement in STEM education.