# Problem Solving

## Lunar Eclipse: Fact and Myth

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After viewing our curriculum units, please take a few minutes to help us understand how the units, which were created by public school teachers, may be useful to others.

I propose to draw upon the mathematical skills learned during the year and apply them to a unit on computing lunar eclipses. Granted, calculations used in astronomy are too sophisticated for average middle school students. However many of the skills learned, i.e. graphing, geometric constructions, solving proportions, and chart reading can be utilized so that students can achieve the desired outcome, charting and calculating the elements of a lunar eclipse.

In addition to allowing students to study an application of mathematics to science, the unit will also allow students to observe a scientific phenomena as an individual would have hundreds of years ago by reading and eventually writing a story or fable explaining the occurrence of an eclipse. The unit will cover a four week period, ideally the last weeks of school.

The material I am presenting will be new to all students. It will be a challenge to many and possibly too difficult for some. However, there are enough different steps requiring different skills that will allow each student to benefit from the unit. The intention is for the unit to be used as an end of the year activity. Students can work individually, however, students may work in groups of two or three and still benefit greatly. No one student will feel overwhelmed by the information and each student can share the information on eclipses and the folklore interpretations that they have found. The novelty of this information and the realization that much of the work can be accomplished by using skills of which students are familiar, will motivate students to learn and enjoy the unit. Ultimately, I hope students will begin to understand mathematics and its relationship to science and acknowledge the use of mathematics in solving problems outside of the math classroom.

The unit is comprised of three major portions: 1) the scientific or physical explanation of a lunar eclipse 2) computing and graphing of particular elements of a specific eclipse and 3) the study of fabled eclipses and the writing of an original fable explaining an eclipse.