Thinking About Lunar Eclipses

Grade Levels
3rd - 6th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
55 pages
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Would you like to be able to see the size and shape of our world with your own eyes? You can, during a lunar eclipse.

The first scientists in history were able to figure out what causes lunar eclipses two millennia ago, with no modern technology, and without even a complete map of the world. They were also able to figure out the size and shape of our world for the first time in history, by paying attention to what they saw during lunar eclipses. You can do this, too. You do not need to take anyone else's word about how eclipses work. You can see these things for yourself...if you can see the clues, and you know what to do with them.


This is a teacher's manual, with supporting materials, covering lunar eclipses from this point of view. The teacher's manual describes a "storyline" that you can present to students, guiding them through the visible clues that you can see with your own eyes, and through a thinking process by which you can come to recognize for yourself what is happening during a lunar eclipse.

This material is aimed mainly at "upper elementary" level -- roughly 3rd-6th grade -- and it provides the basis for roughly a week's worth of daily lessons. There is also some more sophisticated optional material that could be used with older students.


The ZIP archive contains 7 files, all formatted as PDF, so you will need a PDF reader, such as Adobe's free Acrobat Reader or Apple's Preview, to be able to view and print them.

The main file in the archive is the teacher's manual. The preview contains the first 11 pages of the teacher's manual, including a table of contents of the whole thing, and also including the first lesson (a quick review of the appearance and behavior of the moon in the sky). Also included in the archive (or within the teacher's manual):

  • A slideshow containing all graphics from the teacher's manual, for possible use as lecture aids.
  • Two worksheets for students to fill in.
  • Templates for making globes of the earth and the moon to scale.
  • A table of all lunar eclipses from 2000-2050
  • Information about the lunar eclipses visible in 2021 and 2022.
Total Pages
55 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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