Re: Eclipse Observation

From: (Charles F. Lindgren)
Subject: Re: Eclipse Observation
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 1996 16:13:57 +0100


Here's Renee Crawley's description of the lesson:

To encourage students to observe the quality of the night sky and to
determine the number of stars that can be seen from their location.
Ask students how many stars there are outside at night.  Accept all
estimates and record them.  Ask how they could go beyond guesses and
estimates.  Tell the students that they are going to devise a way to
count the stars in the sky.
Ask the student to explain the phrase "Twinkle, Twinkle little star". Ask
them what twinkling means.  Explain to students that only stars twinkle.
The moon and the planets do not.  As a group make the guess suggested
above and record.

empty paper towel or toilet paper tubes.  (you can also make your own
using tag board)
Protractor (for older kids) to measure angles
Compass to determine North
Have students measure the width of their observing device.  Cut the
tube so the length is 3 times the width.  The tube will show a small area
of the sky.
Plan a time for students to take a star census.  Review with students how
to do the counting.  If possible it would be interesting to have the
students make these observations in different locations.  (near a city,
or in the country) and at different times.  When there's a bright moon
and when there's no moon.  For younger students you can use less observations
Just remember that each observation represents 1/144th of the sky.  If
they observe in all four directions at the 3 angles they will have 12
pieces of data.  4 directions X 3 angles.) They would then times the
total by 12..
If students make only 6 observations they would multiply the
total number of stars observed by 24.
I hope that helps!  It's really fun, and I did it last year with 5, 6, 7
and 8 year olds.  We were part of the count and the kids were
really excited.  ---------- Renee Crawley

I thought Renee did a great job outlining it, so I just copied her lesson.

The way I'm going to do it is to create a histogram of all of the results
before eclipse and during, and a histogram of the classification results
for the eclipse. Then I'm just going to post them. I don't know if PTK is
going to create a spot for us on their homepage or not.

The official URL with full description is

Keep in touch,