The Solar Eclipse is crossing North America in August 2017 and everyone is talking about it and starting to plan.
I mentioned my distinct lack of knowledge about celestial bodies last week and my 4 tips to get real about getting ready for the eclipse. Now, I’m sharing some resources to get you on the right track to harness the kids’ enthusiasm about this event in a fun and functional way. This is a list of 50 things you may need or want when talking to the kids about the upcoming solar eclipse.
Let’s start with resources to help you and the kids develop excitement about the eclipse and whet your appetite for more. This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
- How to See the Best Solar Eclipse in a Century: This article from National Geographic includes embedded videos, background information, the eclipse path, and the science behind the eclipse. It is the place to start for all things solar eclipse.
- Looking for the best places to see the eclipse? Check out these recommendations .
- How rare is this eclipse and is this your best chance to see on in your lifetime? This article gives you the next solar eclipses and how important and rare an event this eclipse could be.
- The American Astronomical Society has your back with a full list of educational materials including activities, videos, and demonstrations.
- Want to know about the eclipse in your state (or the state closest to you)? Mr. Eclipse has info sheets by state to give you solar eclipse information specific to your state. He also has links to educational materials and more.
Kids love to actually see and do, so here is a link of some great activities to help demonstrate the events that occur in order for the eclipse. Warning: These could totally turn your family into space geeks!
- Oh NASA, how my husband loves you. As you would expect, NASA has an amazing list of solar eclipse activities to get kids, moving, thinking, and loving astronomy.
- You can make a pinhole projector to use to view the eclipse or talk about the way the eye uses light.
- You can explore a variety of learning extensions for before, during and after the eclipse.
- A simple model of the events that create a solar eclipse.
- This is probably my favorite of these activities because it is so precise and complete. The problem is that it involves setting up and planning on the part of the adult (or teenager) involved. This is a solar eclipse model from Universe Awareness.
Sometimes having something quick to print and use as a reference or activity can be a valuable addition to learning and a lifesaver for the teacher.
- A quick reference for the differences between lunar and solar eclipses
- Solar Eclipse math lesson & mini unit
- Great Moon Phases worksheet (moon phases and the moon orbit are essential to understanding the eclipse).
- Printable Model of the Earth, Moon & Sun great to explain day/night, season, years, moon phases and solar & lunar eclipses.
- Lots of different printables about space from Mrs. Home Economist
Other Space Resources Online
You will probably find that everyone is more interested in astronomy as you begin to prepare and experience the solar eclipse. There are great resources to extend the learning beyond the eclipse and orbits.
- Harry Potter Astronomy focuses on constellations and Jupiter’s Moons.
- Some inspiring ideas for your own space unit (planet trading cards and more)
- A treasure trove of additional link and ideas for studying astronomy (including life on the space station).
- Eva Varga has a different take on Harry Potter Astronomy (this is a 5-day series that covers all kinds of science that you can use while also enjoying Harry Potter).
- The Homeschool Scientist has a variety of ideas to help you get ready for the upcoming eclipse and more she has great space resources and unit study ideas.
- An entire Pinterest board full of Space goodies.
- A solar eclipse craft for the kids using coffee filters from We Are Learning.
- A complete printable pack on the solar system that will be ideal for your young learner.
- A complete ELA unit on the Eclipse from Little Cottage Schoolhouse. You can get this unit plus many different space and eclipse resources at The Science Circle.
Nonfiction Books About Space
We have enjoyed the Everything Kids Series. This particular title is currently FREE with Kindle Unlimited.
According to the publisher, With The Everything Kids’ Astronomy Book, astronomers-in-training will learn:
- How galaxies like the Milky Way were built.
- Why the sun’s surface is 20,000-50,000-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Why the earth spins and how gravity works.
- What comets and asteroids are made of and how they affect planets.
- The truth about the man in the moon.
- Why Mars is so hot and what those rings around Saturn are.
- What scientists think about aliens and life in outer space
2. Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations–and How You Can Find Them in the Sky
DK Eyewitness is a well known and well-loved series of non-fiction books designed for kids. The images and information of the entire series are first rate, and the astronomy volume is no exception.
Coloring books are all the rage and this is not an exception. This is a coloring book aimed for older kids and adults with beautiful photography and the NASA name behind it. This is a must have edition to any coloring book collection along with some great coloring pencils.
This is an interactive book designed for younger elementary and preschool children. It has over 1,000 stickers and is a great way to keep the kids focused, while you are reading aloud or working on topics with other kids. Like all National Geographic books, it has beautiful images (although they can get a little busy).
We have a huge Sofia the First fan, and her sister Amber is a amateur astronomer. This is just the type of book to help expand from the budding interest of the eclipse or a movie or book. This is an introduction that helps you begin identifying object immediately!
This book is designed for kids 5-10, but anyone without a working knowledge of the constellations would enjoy it. It introduces 26 of the most famous constellations and includes their myths, flashcards to help learn to identify, and other activities like word searches.
5. Solar Eclipse Road Trip: The Complete Kids’ Guide and Activity Book for the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017
Are you going on a road trip to see the eclipse? This affordable book has activities to educate and entertain the family on the way there and back. It has trivia, maps. car games, and more.
Have a little fun while you are exploring the cosmos & get some grammar practice in. MadLibs are a hilarious way to practice the parts of speech and the space theme makes it a perfect addition to your eclipse studies.
This is a book about an intergalactic school and the new kid on the block. A coming of age story with a comedic twist.
This is the first in a new science fiction series featuring a young genius inventor and the antics that come about from his inventions and enthusiasm. Sascha is 8 in these stories and keeps himself very busy.
This story is written by Mark Kelly, an astronaut. One of his space companions was mice. This is a sweet tell from the mouse’s perspective. This is a picture book with beautiful illustrations.
This story is about a middle schooler named Miranda and relies heavily on the mentions of A Wrinkle in Time. It is a great character drama with a science fiction twist. It has won numerous awards, I am very excited to be sharing it with my kids over the next few weeks.
No science fiction list for kids would be complete without this classic. This is a story about space and time. It is about to come out as a movie and this would be a great book to read to the kids. It is our current read aloud with When You Reach Me being next.
1. Hidden Figures
This book has an adult and young readers’ edition. Of course, it also a major motion picture. This book examines the culture of the space program in the height of the space race with a focus on three amazing women that worked as human computers for the program. This is a great discussion starter for hard topics. For even younger kids, try Katherine Johnson (You Should Meet)
2. Sally Ride
This is the story of the first woman in space. It is written for grades 9 and up. There are also books aimed for younger kids, like Who Was Sally Ride?
We are big fans of the Who Was/Is biographies. Who Was Neil Armstrong? is no exception. A unit on space isn’t complete without a mention of Neil Armstrong and the Apollo Missions.
I was a fourth grader when the Challenger exploded. It had been a MUCH anticipated event with teachers all over the U.S. talking and competing for a spot on the space shuttle. Christa McAuliffe was chosen. This is a book written by her mother to honor the woman that is so entwined with the history of our space program.
This is a kids overview of the space program and the astronauts within it. It is a great introduction to the personal stories of astronauts for kids ages 6-10.
This set includes a book, flashcards, and a puzzle to help create a sense of accomplishment in the youngest astronomer in your house.
Safety glasses are a must if you plan on viewing the eclipse directly in order to prevent damage to the eyes. There are lots of different types. As of July 31, 2o17 these are the specifications from the NASA website:
Eclipse viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers should meet all the following criteria:
· Have certification information with a designated ISO 12312-2 international standard
· Have the manufacturer’s name and address printed somewhere on the product
· Not be used if they are older than three years, or have scratched or wrinkled lenses
· Not use homemade filters
· Ordinary sunglasses — even very dark ones — should not be used as a replacement for eclipse viewing glasses or handheld solar viewers
Brown, K. (2017, July 21). NASA Recommends Safety Tips to View the August Solar Eclipse. Retrieved July 31, 2017, from https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-recommends-safety-tips-to-view-the-august-solar-eclipse
There a wide variety of T-shirts & Coffee Mugs available to commemorate the occasion.
This isn’t for the eclipse itself, but if you have created a space junkie (in yourself or your kids). This travel telescope gets good reviews for an introductory model.
5. There’s an App for THAT.
A review of some great astronomy nights to help you view the night sky and more.
This is 50 ways to help you get ready for the eclipse and the questions that will follow, make sure to sign up to get a printable rotational model delivered to your inbox!