🧪 Science with Sarah: Solar Eclipse Pinhole Projector🌞

A safe and fun way to view the upcoming solar eclipse -- NO GLASSES NEEDED!

With your back to the sun, find the light source. (Copyright KSAT 2023 - All rights reserved)

👉 Watch the video of Sarah’s science experiment at Bonnie Ellison Elementary here!

Hello parents, teachers and students! Need a fun and safe way to view the solar eclipse? Try making these cereal box pinhole projectors. They’re sure to wow you and your kiddos, even if you don’t have solar eclipse glasses. And even if you do, this is an engaging way to get our young students interested in the eclipse!

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REMEMBER: It is NEVER safe to look directly at the sun... even with sunglasses. So, during a solar eclipse, you need to use proper eye protection.

Be sure to check out GMSA@9 on Wednesdays when Meteorologist Sarah Spivey does the demonstrations and explains the science behind it.

Science with Sarah in partnership with the San Antonio Zoo (Copyright KSAT 2023 - All rights reserved)

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • A cereal box or a large snack box
  • A pencil
  • Piece of white paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Aluminum foil
  • A pushpin or thumbtack

DO THE ACTIVITY

  • STEP 1: Using the paper and the pencil, trace the shape of the bottom of the cereal box
Trace the bottom of the cereal box onto white paper (Copyright KSAT 2023 - All rights reserved)
  • STEP 2: Using adult supervision, cut out the piece of paper and tape it to the inside bottom of the cereal box. It should look like this
The paper should be placed at the bottom of the cereal box (Copyright KSAT 2023 - All rights reserved)
  • STEP 3: On the top of the box, cut out two openings on each side and tape the middle section together. It should look like this:
Cut two holes from the top of the box and tape the middle together (Copyright KSAT 2023 - All rights reserved)
  • STEP 4: Place aluminum foil over one opening.
  • STEP 5: Using the thumbtack, poke a small hole into the aluminum foil.
Tape the foil to one side of the box and push a pinprick through the foil (Copyright KSAT 2023 - All rights reserved)
  • STEP 6: Use your pinhole projector by going outside and placing your back to the sun. Look through the open side of the top and move the box around until the sun is focused into the pinhole and you can see the sun reflected onto the white paper at the bottom of the box. If it’s cloudy or you’re under a tree, you’ll see these things, too!
With your back to the sun, find the light source. (Copyright KSAT 2023 - All rights reserved)
The inside of the cereal box eclipse viewer. Look at the detail!! Sun & clouds! (Copyright KSAT 2023 - All rights reserved)

HOW IT WORKS

The pinhole focuses the sun’s strong light inside the cereal box. A perfect projection is made on the white paper in the background!

SCIENCE WITH SARAH

If you’d like Sarah and David to come to your school and conduct a science experiment live on KSAT, fill out this form. “Winners” are selected at random.

More eclipse stories on KSAT:


About the Authors:

Sarah Spivey is a San Antonio native who grew up watching KSAT. She has been a proud member of the KSAT Weather Authority Team since 2017. Sarah is a Clark High School and Texas A&M University graduate. She previously worked at KTEN News. When Sarah is not busy forecasting, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and cat, and playing music.

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.