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Paper Plate Activities for the Sun

Engage your solar eclipse audience with paper plate activities that are related to the sun. While some activities can be done on any one day--and are especially valuable if April 8, 2024, is cloudy--a few require extended observations over several months. Some are easy, some are hard.

For more activities see the original Paper Plate Education and its continuation at Nightwise-Paper Plate Education.

Mask for Solar Shades Make and decorate a mask to hold solar shades. While the top half shields the sun, the bottom opening allows you to look down for shadow bands. From NASA. Adapted to make pre-cut masks in bulk at

Tracking Sunspots Record the view of the sun through a telescope by plotting sunspots on a paper plate.

Sunrise Sunset Video: Track the position of the rising or setting sun relative to your local horizon. Activity extends for several months.

Altitude of the Noon Sun II Video: Demonstrate the changing altitude of the noon sun through the seasons for any latitude.

Portable Sundial Make a basic sundial using paper plates, with versions ranging from complicated to simple. Portable Sundial I Portable Sundial II Portable Sundial IV

Platisphere for Eclipse Projection Video: Use the holes of a Platisphere to project the eclipsed sun onto a surface.

Shaving Cream Sun Use shaving cream and food coloring on a paper plate to make a dynamic looking sun. From NASA.

Post-Eclipse Corona Immediately after the eclipse, record your recollection of the sun, including the corona and sunspots.


Wholemovement Video: Take artwork to a new level by exploring the information of a circle. Fold paper plates into fabulous designs that express your eclipse experience. Presented by Bradford Hansen-Smith; supported with videos and books.

Moonthly Eclipse [Sorry, text is not uploaded; only image is available.] Demonstrate why eclipses do not occur every month both at new moon and at full moon.

Mission Patch Design your own solar eclipse mission patch, or replicate one from a sun-related NASA mission.

Adjustable Telescope Stop Stop down the incoming sunlight for a reflector telescope when using a Sun Funnel. Two overlapping plates, each with a chunk cut out, can be rotated to control the brightness and to prevent the optics from overheating. Note: You may not look out the eyepiece! This activity is only for use with a Sun Funnel, for it still allows significant sunlight into the scope.

When Do Lunar Eclipses Happen? Adapt NASA activity to show why solar eclipses don’t happen during every new moon.


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