A total eclipse of the is one of the most amazing sights in nature. The sun appears to be transformed into a black hole in the sky, and is surrounded by the ethereal corona.
In 2017, America will experience its first total eclipse since 1979. To encourage teachers to discuss the eclipse with their students, I wrote this lab and a Teacher's Guide
(available on my TpT store).
With America's Eclipses, students will plot the paths of the four total eclipses visible from the United States within the next few decades; the eclipses of 2017, 2024, 2044, and 2045.
All of these eclipses are special in that the path of totality for each eclipse, the narrow zone along the earth's surface where the total eclipse can be seen, will cross the continental United States. To see a total eclipse, observers must be positioned within this narrow path.
For the August 21, 2017 eclipse, the path of totality crosses the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Several large cities are located within the path of totality for this eclipse, including Salem, Oregon, Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina. August 21st is a Monday, a school day for much of the United States, and the eclipse provides a rare educational opportunity for teachers.
The students will create an eclipse map of the United States by plotting the paths of totality for each each eclipse. Data tables include latitude and longitude coordinates, length of totality, starting times, path width, and comments. The students will use the data tables to create their eclipse maps, and answer lab questions about many aspects of eclipses.
Teachers can use this lab to introduce the phenomena of eclipses to their students and encourage interest in their observation. America is due for two total eclipses within the next seven years, so these topics will remain relevant.