Eclipses STEM


Eclipses are one of the most fascinating astronomical events. And with this Eclipses STEM lesson plan, your students will have a blast learning all about them! This is a great opportunity for your students to get hands-on with their learning.

In this lesson, students will first define and explain an eclipse. They will then identify the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse. For the activity, they will get to create a model of an eclipse, including the relative position of the sun, moon, and earth. Finally, students will solidify their knowledge by creating their own drawings of both types of eclipses.

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What our Eclipses STEM lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Eclipses STEM introduces students to the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse. Students will learn how to define or explain what happens during one of these events. They will also be able to create a model to demonstrate how an eclipse would work. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand.

Options for Lesson

The “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page outlines a number of suggestions for additional ideas or activities to incorporate into the lesson. One idea is to visit a local planetarium or science museum to watch a solar eclipse. Another idea is to show videos of actual eclipses that people have captured on camera. Students could create moon phases with Oreos. If possible, you could order eclipse glasses for your students to use during the next solar eclipse. As another option, create a classroom calendar that marks the phases of the moon and highlights the next lunar eclipse. One more suggestion is to throw and eclipse party in the classroom and create cereal box camera obscuras.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page provides an extra paragraph of information to help guide the lesson and remind you what to focus on. The blank lines on this page are available for you to write out thoughts and ideas you have as you prepare the lesson.


The Eclipses STEM lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will help students solidify their grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will work alone or with a partner for the activity. However, you may also do the activity as a class and participate in the experiment. Students will place a styrofoam ball on top of a stick that will represent the moon. In the center of the room, place a lamp without a shade, and turn it on. The lamp should be approximately the same height as the students. Turn of the other lights in the classroom and darken any areas where light might shine through so the room is as dark as possible.

Each student will take turns walking to the lamp in the middle of the room. (If the light isn’t already on at this point, the student can do so then.) The students will hold their sticks up at arm’s length and move it around their head to model the rotation of the moon. They should move the ball until it blocks their view of the lamp to create a solar eclipse. Then they will put the ball on the opposite side of their head to make a lunar eclipse. After all the students finish, they will answer two questions on the worksheet.


Using the supplies you provide, students will roll some clay into a ball. They will put the clay and the orange eight inches apart. on their desk. They will stand two feet away from the desk. You can turn off the lights to darken the room at this point. The students will then hold a flashlight at the same level as the orange and clay ball on the desk. They will shine the light on the clay ball and observe the shadow on the orange. Then they will respond to the prompts on the worksheet.


For the homework assignment, students will draw pictures to represent a solar and lunar eclipse using two celestial bodies. The celestial bodies do not have to be planets and sun or moon. They could include asteroids, rockets, alien space crafts, and so on if they choose.

Worksheet Answer Keys

There are answer keys for the practice and homework worksheets. The correct answers are in red to make it easy to compare to students’ work. Given the nature of some of the questions, students’ responses may vary. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Science, STEM

State Educational Standards

NGSS.3- LS4-4, NGSS.5-ESS1-2, NGSS.MS- ESS1-3

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.