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13. Making a Solar Eclipse Book: The Sun and Moon During a Solar Eclipse
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See the Activity in Action Summary of Activity:
This is a culminating activity for the previous Sun and eclipse lessons. Students will make book covers displaying the Sun during a solar eclipse and a labeled illustration of the Sun. The books will contain work sheets and student writing completed in this suite of lessons.

Duration of Activity:
These activities can be completed over several days. Older students may complete them in less time.

Day 1: 30 minutes to prepare and paint Sun pictures.

Day 2: 30 minutes to complete labels and glue to covers.

Day 3: 30 minutes to prepare the Moon disk and labels, and assemble the book covers. (See photos)

Student Prerequisites:
Students should have:

  1. A basic under-standing of the movements of the Sun, Earth, and Moon.

  2. Knowledge of how the Sun, Earth, and Moon interact to create a solar eclipse.

  3. A basic understanding of the size and spatial positions of the Sun, Earth and Moon.


  • 3 sheets (9 x 12-inch) of black construction paper per student
  • 1 sheet (9 x 12-inch) of white construction paper per student
  • Yellow, orange, and red tempera paint
  • Paint brushes (1/2 to 1-inch wide brushes work well)
  • 1 7-inch paper plate per student
  • Labeling work sheets
  • Glue
  • Pencils
  • 1 brad per student
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch

Teacher Preparation:
Allow time to locate materials and copy work sheets.

Work Sheets:

"Solar Eclipse Book" Work Sheets
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View Completed Student Work




Students will:

  1.  Paint the Sun including features such as flares, sunspots, and magnetic loops.
  2.  Include the Moon in their rendering of the solar eclipse.
  3. Label the Moon and the various solar features in their eclipse paintings.

View National Standards AddressedGrade Level:
Grades 1-3

Day 1: Painting the Sun

  1. Explain to students that they will make scientific illustrations for the covers of their Eclipse Books and that their books will contain all their work from the suite of Sun lessons.
  2. Have students set up a paint palette with yellow, orange, and red paint. Paints should be thin enough so the colors will blend slightly.
  3. Give each student two pieces of black construction paper and a paper plate.
  4. Ask students to place the plate in the middle of one piece of black paper and trace a circle to serve as the outline of the Sun.
  5. Save the paper plates to trace the outline of the Moon later in this activity.
  6. Begin painting with yellow paint. Ask students to paint most of the circle yellow, leaving small spots of the black paper, about the size of a dime, showing through (for sunspots and flares). For best results, load the brush with paint and "pat" it onto the circle. Avoid brushing the paint as it will not produce the granular appearance of the Sun.
  7. Tell students it's OK to paint outside the circle because the extra paint creates the Sun's corona, prominences, and magnetic loops.
  8. Have students pat the orange and red paint directly on top of the wet yellow paint, leaving some yellow and black areas showing.
  9. While the paint is still wet, ask students to place the second piece of black paper directly on the painted paper and gently rub the sandwiched papers to blend the colors.
  10. Peel apart the two pieces of paper and set aside to dry. One Sun will be used for the Eclipse Book's front cover, and the other for the back cover. (See example)

Day 2: Labeling

  1. Explain to students that they will be labeling their Sun illustrations.
  2. Distribute the labeling work sheet. Ask students to write their names on the "author" label on the work sheet.
  3. Review the features of the Sun and the key vocabulary with students. Use the "Science Word Wall" as a resource. Some possible vocabulary terms are: corona, sunspot, prominence, solar flare, magnetic loop, core, diameter, and surface.
  4. Have students make their labels using the vocabulary words.
  5. When the labels are completed, have students cut them out and glue them onto one of their Sun paintings (this will be the back cover of their Eclipse Book).
  6. The other Sun painting will be the Eclipse Book front cover. Ask students to glue the title and author labels on the front cover.
  7. Save the "Moon in Shadow" and "Moon in Light" labels for Day 3.

Day 3: Making the Moon and Putting the Eclipse Book Together!

  1. Give each student one piece of black and one piece of white construction paper, and a 7-inch paper plate.
  2. Ask students to glue the white and black pieces of paper together, place the paper plate on the white side and trace a circle.
  3. Have students cut out the circle to make a disk representing the Moon.
  4. Ask students how to put the pieces of the eclipse model together. Ask them which side of the Moon disk (when placed over the Sun painting) is in the Sun's light, and which is in shadow. Ask them to explain their answer.
  5. Ask students to label the shadow side of the Moon disk with the "Moon in Shadow" label, and the light side with the "Moon in Light" label. Cut labels and glue in place.
  6. Attach the labeled Moon disk to the Sun with a brad. Younger students may need help with this part of the activity. Have students punch a hole in the top of the Moon disk, and place it over the painting of the Sun with the black side facing outward. Push the brad through the cover and flare the brad.
  7. The corona and prominences will be visible around the outer edge of the Moon and will simulate the Sun during a total solar eclipse.
  8. The Eclipse Books can be spiral bound or stapled after student work sheets and student writing have been inserted.
  9. Laminating the covers is not essential, but contributes to a longer-lasting student portfolio for the classroom and students' parents.

Extensions Activity:
Writing About the Sun

  1. Distribute writing paper. Ask the students to use their illustrations of the Sun to write a descriptive paragraph.
  2. Encourage them to use the "Science Word Wall" for vocabulary words in their writing. Students should be able to describe a solar flare, solar prominence, the corona, sunspots, and the surface of the Sun.
  3. Important concepts to include are what the Sun is made of, its temperature, and what happens during a solar eclipse (Sun, Moon, Earth positioning).
  4. If students are not able to write yet, take a dictation to capture their knowledge of these concepts.

Use the Labeling work Sheet and eclipse books to assess your students' work.

See related books and websites.

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