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Back-to-School Activities

See It Safely
When there's an eclipse of the sun, See It Safely with this activity.
When there's an eclipse of the sun, See It Safely with this activity.

A solar eclipse is a rare event that everyone wants to see, but looking at the sun is dangerous. Make and use this eclipse viewer instead, using these instructions for a great back-to-school activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Two pieces of cardboard
  • Pin or nail to poke hole

A solar eclipse happens when the moon comes between the Earth and the sun. The moon blocks out the sun, and the Earth gets dark in the daytime. But actually looking at an eclipse -- or looking at the sun on any day -- can cause blindness, because the sun's light is so strong. Here is how to make a viewer that will allow you to see an eclipse safely.

Step 1: Get two pieces of cardboard, each about the size of a piece of notebook paper or a little smaller.

Step 2: Poke a small hole in the middle of one piece of cardboard.

Step 3: At the time of an eclipse, hold the piece with the hole up to the sun, with the other piece of cardboard beneath it, as shown.

Step 4: Look at the second piece of cardboard. An image of the eclipse will be projected onto it. You should see a circle with a "bite" taken out of it; the bite is the shadow of the moon in front of the sun.

For another fun scientific after-school activity, see Ups and Downs on the next page.

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