Solar and Lunar Eclipse Activities - Model, Reading Passages and Questions

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Brenda Kovich
Grade Levels
4th - 5th, Homeschool
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63 pages
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Brenda Kovich
Easel Activities Included
Some resources in this bundle include ready-to-use interactive activities that students can complete on any device.  Easel by TPT is free to use! Learn more.

Products in this Bundle (2)


    Lesson Plans and Printable Booklet


    Ready for the next solar or lunar eclipse? A moveable model, teaching tips, reading passages and questions let you teach like a pro! Your students will love the hands-on activities. You’ll love how quickly they understand complex concepts.

    Open the previews to take a closer look.


    Kids build a model to simulate the Moon-Earth-Sun system. Then you use teaching notes to guide their exploration of day and night, phases, lunar and solar eclipses, and tides.

    A read-aloud story activates prior experiences. Note-taking sheets, worksheets, background information, a review and quiz are also included.

    First, read and discuss “Jamal Watches the Moon” with your class.

    • This short read-aloud story activates background knowledge and builds conceptualization.
    • Why the Moon looks bigger when it’s near the horizon
    • How it rises and sets in the same place each day
    • Why the Sun, Moon, and planets rise and set in the same place each day
    • How Earth rotates to make it seem like celestial objects rise and set
    • What causes phases
    • Why we see the Moon during the day

    Second, build the model.

    • Print the templates on cardstock.
    • Have kids cut out the pieces (and color, if desired).
    • Ask them to connect the strips and pieces with two metal fasteners.

    Third, guide kids as they explore relative motion and position of the Earth, Moon, and Sun. Talking points provide the support for activities as you discuss a variety of phenomena:

    • Phases – new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent
    • Solar and lunar eclipses – total and partial
    • Tides

    As a culmination, ask kids to review and take a quiz.


    Add some reading to your astronomy unit! Nine one-page informative passages provide facts about the Sun and Moon, solar and lunar eclipses, phases, as well as their sizes and positions relative to Earth. Questions and answers correspond to the informational texts.

    Reading passages model clear, concise information about celestial objects.

    The Sun

    • Is the star, or glowing ball of gas, of our solar system
    • Gives heat and light; makes life on Earth possible
    • Made of three layers: core, radioactive zone, convective zone
    • Has atmosphere with three layers: photosphere, chromosphere, corona
    • Measures 864,575 miles in diameter
    • Holds orbit of Earth at an angle, which causes seasons

    The Moon

    • Orbits the Earth about once every 27 days
    • Can be seen due to reflected light from Sun
    • Measures 2,160 miles in diameter
    • Made of rock in layers: core, mantle, and crust
    • Has a thin atmosphere which allowed meteors to strike the lunar surface

    Phases of the Moon

    • Are caused by relative position of Earth and Sun
    • Include new, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent

    Solar Eclipses

    • Occur when Moon comes between Earth and the Sun
    • Include an umbra and penumbra, which determine if it will be total
    • Can only occur during a new moon; however, only when on the ecliptic
    • Involve specific vocabulary terms: total, annular, hybrid, and partial eclipses; umbra, penumbra, and antumbra; syzygy; first, second, third, and fourth contact.

    Lunar Eclipses

    • Occur when the Earth comes between the Moon and Sun
    • Can only occur (total) during a full moon
    • Appears red due to long wavelengths (Blood Moon)
    • Can be viewed from anywhere on the dark side of Earth, where night is occurring

    Relative Sizes

    • The Moon is about one-fourth as wide as Earth.
    • The Sun is more than 100 times as wide as our planet.

    Relative Positions

    • The Moon revolves around Earth once every 27.3 days in a nearly circular orbit. It’s about 238,900 miles away.
    • The Earth travels around the Sun once every 365.25 days. Its elliptical orbit lies on the ecliptic plane. At its closest point (perihelion), it is 91 million miles away. At its farthest (aphelion), it’s 94.5 million miles from our planet.

    Questions and answer keys reflect information in the reading passages.


    As a bonus, you’ll also receive additional materials.

    • Lesson plans help you organize the activities.
    • A foldable booklet supports teaching solar and lunar eclipses.

    These resources let you teach astronomy with confidence.

    • Lesson plans, directions, FAQs, information sheets, and talking points give you the support you need.
    • A fictional story, model templates, note-taking pages, worksheets, informational reading passages and questions provide student resources.

    Enjoy teaching science and reading!

    Brenda Kovich

    Note: These resources replace files that previously focused on the 2017 solar eclipse.

    Would you like to be notified when I post new resources? Just follow me on TPT!

    Upcoming Lunar Eclipses

    • May 5-6, 2023 (penumbral) - best seen in southeastern Europe, Asia, and Africa
    • October 28-29, 2023 (partial) - best seen in eastern North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia

    Upcoming Solar Eclipses

    • April 20, 2023 (total) - best seen in southeastern Asia and western Australia
    • October 14, 2023 (annular) - best seen in southeastern North America and northern South America
    Total Pages
    63 pages
    Answer Key
    Teaching Duration
    2 Weeks
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