Hooked on Science: Solar Eclipse Box

Contributor
Jason Lindsey
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity
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

This resource contains directions on how to create a solar eclipse box that works exactly like a pinhole camera.  Teachers can use this resource to help students observe and predict sun and moon patterns. To truly make this an engineering design activity, teachers can modify this resource where students will actually plan, design, test, and share how their box is different than the directions provided.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 1
Language
English
Access Restrictions

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

Performance Expectations

K-2-ETS1-1 Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

Clarification Statement: none

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
Many teachers do not have access to an actual pinhole camera. A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens. Teachers can help students design a solar eclipse box that works just like a pinhole camera to observe patterns of the sun and moon. To make this a true engineering design activity the teacher can suggest that students make holes of different sizes and use different types of materials (for example what happens if they used colored paper instead of white paper) and have students test out their different designs. The teacher can also provide students with the original directions and have them modify such allowing them to ask questions, make observations, and gather information throughout the engineering design process to truly encompass this performance expectation.

1-ESS1-1 Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include that the sun and moon appear to rise in one part of the sky, move across the sky, and set; and stars other than our sun are visible at night but not during the day.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of star patterns is limited to stars being seen at night and not during the day.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Motion patterns of the sun, moon, and stars can be observed, described, and predicted. Sometimes as the moon revolves around Earth, it moves between the sun and Earth. When this happens, the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching Earth causing a solar eclipse. Students will be able to use the solar eclipse box to view this phenomenon.

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
This resource provides easy to follow directions on how to create a solar eclipse viewing box that works like a pinhole camera. This resource is only implicit because the author does not contain any guiding questions or additional resources to demonstrate this practice. To strengthen this practice the teacher could ask students questions and allow students to ask each other questions about solar patterns. The teacher can provide students with different types of texts and/or show them videos. In “Countdown to the Great American Eclipse” an NSTA Science and Children article suggested the following: “...Events recur in observable and predictable cycles. And since eclipses aren’t frequently observed by students, information from trusted media can be successfully substituted in place of direct observation.” http://static.nsta.org/files/sc1706_60.pdf

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
To meet this Practice, the teacher can provide students with texts and/or allow them to research sun patterns online. Students can use such information to further build their background knowledge which will allow them to collect data and share their observations with others.

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
The teacher can have students complete a sketch of a solar eclipse box before allowing students to design one. The teacher should have a discussion with students on the purpose of creating solar eclipse boxes and how the boxes can be used to observe patterns in the sky. To truly make this an engineering design activity, the teacher can have students come up with the initial ideas on how to design a pinhole camera. After the build. students can try different things to improve upon their designs and compare their designs with others.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will be able to use the solar eclipse box to observe, describe, and predict patterns in the sky. Most students are curious about this phenomenon; although solar eclipses occur around two to five times a year, people are not always able to see them. The teacher can use this resource to get students excited about solar eclipses and teach them that are three types of solar eclipses: total, partial, and annular.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Patterns in the sky can be observed and used to describe phenomena such as solar eclipse. The teacher can provide information on solar eclipses to help students determine a pattern which can be used as evidence. Many students think that the solar eclipse that occured on August 21st was rare and do not understand that what is rare is a total eclipse. Additional ways to meet this expectation are to have students participate in shared journaling/research projects that inform others about the different types of solar eclipses.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson addresses all three dimensions of learning as defined by the NGSS. This lesson meets the Performance Expectation for first grade, Disciplinary Core Idea, and K-2 Engineering Design by having students design a solar eclipse box. This resource would be stronger if additional information/activities were included such as having students watch videos regarding sun paths and allowing students to design their own solar eclipse box. For example, students can modify the initial solar eclipse box design by using different size boxes and holes. To engage them in engineering (because students are following step by step directions to create the solar eclipse box) the teacher can allow students to ask questions about the design and create their own. Possible questions might include how does the size of the hole affect student’s safety? Does the size of the hole matter? Will the image change if I use different size boxes and pinholes? What is the best way to design my solar eclipse box (should it be a box that I hold or something that I can place over my head like a helmet)?

  • Instructional Supports: Besides providing background information for teachers this resource does not contain any instructional support for educators. To strengthen this area, teachers may provide journal activities or have students write in their science notebooks about the different types of solar eclipse and the benefits of using a solar eclipse box. Students can also make predictions about what they think they will see using the solar eclipse box. To focus on the engineering aspects, teachers should have students create sketches and diagrams of a solar eclipse box and ways to improve their design. Teachers might adapt and utilize the following resource to help them understand why it is important to wear some type of device to view solar eclipses? “Eclipses and Eye Safety” http://static.nsta.org/files/sc1707_58.pdf

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This resource does not provide any resources to monitor students progress. Observations, student notes, and conversations may all be used to monitor student progress.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not contain any technology.