Physics Girl: What's the Difference Between a Solar and Lunar Eclipse?
This 5-minute video could be a great springboard for introducing an eclipse unit in the middle grades. Physics Girl Diana Cowern integrates good science with an engaging style to introduce diagrams of eclipses, a hands-on physical model you can do at home, and a very effective explanation of why solar and lunar eclipses don't happen every month. Teachers: Turn on the Closed Captioning (right corner of the video) for students with disabilities or to help you engage in "Stop and Start" to introduce questions at various intervals.
NASA Planetary Sciences: Lunar Eclipse Essentials
This short video shows how the appearance of the Moon changes as it passes through Earth's umbra and penumbra during a lunar eclipse, and explains how Earth's atmosphere causes the Moon to look red. Teachers: Don't miss the well-crafted support materials, which include a Background Essay, Discussion Questions, and tips for creating a physical model of eclipse events.
NASA: The Last Total Solar Eclipse Ever
Math Challenge for Middle Grades: Solar eclipses happen because the angular size of the moon as viewed from the Earth is almost exactly the same as the sun's. But did you know the moon has been steadily pulling away from the Earth at a rate of about 4 cm per year? At this rate, how long will it be before there are no more total solar eclipses? This Math Challenge takes students through a 7-step problem set to figure it out. Answer key is provided. Appropriate for students in Algebra and Algebra Preparatory courses.
PBS Learning Media: Lunar Eclipses Explained
Confused about the difference between a blood moon, a super blood moon, and a lunar eclipse? You won't be after seeing this 4-minute video from PBS Digital Media. Using animation and images, the video does a great job of explaining the phenomenon called a "blood moon", which is really a lunar eclipse. It will also help learners visualize the Moon's orbital inclination (about 5 degrees tilted with respect to Earth's ecliptic plane). These different ecliptic planes are why we don't see lunar eclipses every 27 days -- things have to be lined up perfectly for eclipse phenomena to occur.
NASA Goddard Media: Lunar Eclipse Collection
Want to extend your eclipse lesson and have some fun? This page features a collection of 13 short animations on lunar eclipse phenomena, 4 of which are narrated. The image to the right shows why the Moon turns red during a lunar eclipse: as light from the sun passes by Earth's atmosphere, shorter wavelengths (like blue) are scattered. By the time the light finishes its trip to the Moon, only longer wavelengths (red and orange) remain. You'll also find animations of light scattering as it would appear from the Moon, the total eclipse of June, 2011, and versions for viewing a lunar eclipse in 3D format.