NASA/JPL Yardstick Eclipse Demonstration

This resource from NASA/JPL’s Night Sky Network includes a full description of the activity and materials needed to demonstrate how both lunar and solar eclipses occur. The printable document provided includes instructions for engaging students, and questions to ask in leading the discussion.

Materials for each group of 3-4 students are:

  • Yard (or meter) stick
  • 1″ ball (for the Earth)
  • 0.25″ ball (for the Moon)
  • two toothpicks
  • two binder clips

Alternatively, this setup can be done as a teacher-led demonstration.

Pinhole Eclipse Viewer Handout

This handout is designed to have one page or the other printed single-sided. One page has six handouts per page and the other has eight per page.

The file is available in PDF format only.

What is an Eclipse? Handout

This handout is designed to be printed double-sided, and has two handouts per page. On one side are diagrams and brief descriptions of both lunar and solar eclipses. On the other side are lists of upcoming lunar and solar eclipses through 2020.

The file is available in both MS Word and PDF formats.

Crash Course – Astronomy – 5: Eclipses

This YouTube video describes solar and lunar eclipses, their causes, and their variations.

This is the fifth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Solar Eclipse 0:59
  • Lunar Eclipse 1:03
  • Moon’s Orbit 1:23
  • Size of the Earth and Moon 8:24

Crash Course – Astronomy – 4: Moon Phases

This YouTube video explains why the moon has phases and what their names are.

This is the fourth video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Why the Moon Has Phases 0:36
  • Spheres in Orbit 1:05
  • Name of the Moon Phases 2:25
  • How We See It 7:48

Crash Course – Astronomy – 3: Cycles in the Sky

This YouTube video describes repeating patterns of changes in the sky.

This is the third video of the Crash Course – Astronomy series, hosted by Dr. Phil Plait. From the video description:

Table of Contents:

  • Naked Eye Observations 0:28
  • Constellations 3:09
  • The Color of Stars 2:44
  • View of the Stars 7:25