NASA Eclipse Web Site

Contributor
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Numerical/Computer Model , Data
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

The NASA Eclipse Web Site contains multiple pages of data which students can explore, analyze and use to explain phenomena.  The site contains data on solar and lunar eclipses and on the transits of Venus and Mars.  On the solar eclipse page, students can access dates and details for 5,000 years of eclipses.  Links are available to Google Maps and the World Atlas of Eclipses. In addition, there is a JavaScript Solar Eclipse Explorer which calculates local data for dozens of cities for several millennia. Of special interest is an entire page, along with an interactive map, dedicated to the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017. The lunar eclipse page provides similar information on 5,000 years of lunar eclipses, a Javascript Lunar Eclipse Explorer and Special Interest articles specifically on lunar eclipses.  The web site is designed to provide data and information; teachers will need to create lessons that utilize the resources found here.

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • High School
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

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.

Clarification Statement: Examples of models can be physical, graphical, or conceptual.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
On this web site, students are neither developing nor using a model to explain eclipses; rather, they can explore a multitude of data sets and maps (some of which are interactive) pertaining to the effects of eclipses on geographic locales. The site engages students by providing both temporal and spatial information that directly affects them during their lifetimes.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The NASA Eclipse Web Site is a data packed site containing resources for both solar and lunar eclipses. Its content is engaging; for example, students can access maps showing eclipse pathways for their entire lifetimes. Students can use the Google Maps feature to determine the limits of partial solar eclipses and to find the magnitude and obscuration for any site they select. Since this site is not designed to provide lesson plans, teachers will need to create the questions that students will investigate using the data supplied on the site.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This resource relates solely to the portion of the Disciplinary Core Idea dealing with eclipses. The data contained in this website allows students the opportunity to study the effects of eclipses on Earth. For example, students can access maps that show the geographic areas affected by any solar or lunar eclipse. The site does not delve deeply into why eclipses occur but NASA does have a page of information containing video clips that briefly explains the causes of eclipses. These resources can be accessed at: http://www.nasa.gov/content/eclipses-and-transits-overview. For more information on the causes of eclipses, teachers may want to explore the reviewed resources on the NGSS Hub located at: http://ngss.nsta.org/DisplayStandard.aspx?view=topic&id=34.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The data contained in this website will not help students explain the geometry of eclipses; however, it will help students familiarize themselves with the effects of eclipses on Earth. For example, students can access the Google Maps feature to show the narrow path of totality for a selected solar eclipse. Students can then click on points North and South of this band of totality to see the percentage of obscuration and magnitude. Students could use this data to determine the outside limits of the eclipse’s penumbra.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The NASA Eclipse Web Site contains data sets and maps which students can use to evaluate the effects of both solar and lunar eclipses on geographic locales. Teachers can construct challenges that students can solve by analyzing the data found here. This resource is closely aligned to the Practice of Analyzing and Interpreting Data and the Crosscutting Concept of Cause and Effect.

  • Instructional Supports: As mentioned previously, this site does not provide lesson plans. NASA Eclipse Web Site is a collection of data sets and maps. Teachers will need to create lesson plans and instructional supports.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: NASA Eclipse Web Site is a collection of data sets and maps. Teachers will be responsible for designing assessments and rubrics to monitor progress.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The sheer volume of data contained in this web site may seem overwhelming at first but the site is well organized and easily accessible. Students will enjoy the interactivity found in the Google Maps feature on the web site.