Sally Gallik, STEM teacher at Gurney Elementary School, wanted to find a hands-on lesson that would show her K-3 STEM students exactly what happens with the alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth to create a solar eclipse. After searching for ideas, she found a great model that allowed the students to move the moon over the sun.

Gallik started each lesson with students watching a short solar eclipse video and demonstrating how the sun, moon, and Earth orbit around one another with a large yellow Chinese lantern as the sun, a globe, and a foil ball for the moon. They also talked about how everyone on Earth has a different view of the eclipse, and that there is a path of totality.

The best part of the lesson was when Gallik showed the class the path of totality and pointed out where they were located. The class erupted with cheers when they learned that they were in the path of totality. They were so excited.

Finally, they started making the models. They colored and cut out the sun, moon, and Earth. The sun and Earth were glued to a blue plate while the moon was glued to a popsicle stick so they could move it over the sun. Then they simulated the eclipse. Sally asked them to tell her what it would look like at various times starting at 1:59 and ending at 4:28. Of course, they loved showing the total eclipse at 3:15.