Addressing students’ misconceptions about eclipses
The upcoming Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse, with its 70-mile wide path of totality stretching across much of North America, provides us with a unique opportunity to teach students about eclipses. One might naturally assume that students have little difficulty understanding the nature of eclipses. After all, the notion that eclipses occur when the new Moon blocks the Sun's light from reaching Earth or, alternatively, when Earth blocks the Sun's light from reaching the full Moon seems simple enough. However, discipline-based astronomy education research consistently shows that students struggle mightily with developing a conceptually coherent understanding of eclipses.