Anatomy of a Solar Eclipse

Spotlight on Strategies - EDIM 508


The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the definition and process of a solar eclipse. This lesson is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards - Earth's Place in the Universe, MS-ESS1-1. Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons. The K-W-L strategy will be used to teach the shadow components of the eclipse (umbra and penumbra) along with the cyclic patterns of the eclipse. The K-W-L strategy will help to facilitate science learning by activating students' prior knowledge (K - what I KNOW), students will construct questions of personal interest to focus attention during reading (W - what I WANT to know), and summarizing and reflecting on what was learned and how the questions were answered (L - what I LEARNED). Students will record results on the K-W-L chart provided. After the lesson, students will discuss the ideas and questions with classmates and write a reflection by answering, "What questions do I still have?" This will help the teacher to identify if students mastered the concept and if any information is still lacking.


Students will work in pairs to fill out the K-W-L chart. As the lesson begins, students will fill out anything that they already know about a solar eclipse in the K (what I KNOW) column followed by the W (what I Want to know) questions. Then after viewing the resources provided, the students will fill in the L (what I LEARNED) column. Resources that the teacher will use are below:

  • Students will listen to a song about solar eclipses that will appeal to the musical multiple intelligence:


Teachers can use the K-W-L strategy with any concept or topic that they select for investigations and explorations in science. An extension activity would be for students to create a model of the earth-sun-moon system to display in the classroom. An additional activity is for students to research and provide evidence before adding the 'what we know' information.


K-W-L Chart - ReadWriteThink. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2015, from

Study Guides and Strategies. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2015, from