Lunar and Solar Eclipse Introductory Lesson

Lunar and Solar Eclipse Introductory Lesson

By Jonathan Ropiequet

MSEd student Jonathan Ropiequet created this lesson plan for third-grade students. The learning goals for this lesson are for students to learn to formulate questions based on a science topic, collect data based on observations of images and models, and report and display group findings to the class. 

Subject: Science


  1. Three Styrofoam balls (different sizes)
  2. Flashlights
  3. Eclipse Chinese myth and poem
  4. Science journals
  5. Different types of solar and lunar eclipse images
  6. Recording sheet

Driving Question

How are lunar and solar eclipses formed?

Anticipatory Set

The teacher will have the students sit in a circle upon starting the lesson. He will tell the class that he will be reading two short pieces of literature: a myth and a poem about a science topic, but that he will not reveal the topic to them. He will then read the Chinese eclipse myth followed by the eclipse poem. Afterwards they will have a discussion about them, based on the following:

  1. What they think the readings were about?
  2. Any words that stood out?
  3. What was going on?
  4. Have they ever witnessed or heard anything like this before?
  5. How do they think it occurred?
  6. Do they know what this phenomenon is called?

Afterwards, the teacher will have the students draw and write in their journals either how they think an eclipse is formed or a representation of what they understood from the readings. 


Students will be asked to work in groups of three, each having a particular responsibility: recorder, communicator, and drawer. The recorder will write down observations and questions the group has. The artist will draw what they observe. And the communicator will present their findings.The groups will be rotating around several stations (five minutes per station) with different prompts:

  1. Different lunar eclipse images (it won’t say what they are): What do you see and want to find out more about?
  2. Different solar eclipse images (it won’t say what they are): What do you see and want to find out more about?
  3. Three different Styrofoam balls and flashlight: How many different kinds of shadows can you make using the objects available?

The teacher will walk around listening to each group’s discussion, probing students for further information. After 15 minutes of station exploration, the students will gather again on the rug with their groups and journals. Each group will share their observations and questions to the whole class. Meanwhile, the teacher will write down observations and questions on the board. 


After every group has shared their observations and questions, the teacher will ask the students to: write down in their journals whether they agree or not with what they wrote down originally (during the beginning of class).The teacher will tell the class that the next time they meet they will be working on answering their questions through the reading of an informative text and watching a video. 


Assessment will be on going, based on their group work and participation. Journals and recording sheets will be collected at the end of class, to note explanations and observations.

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