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Learning Library Blog 7 resources for teaching the solar eclipse
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7 resources for teaching the solar eclipse

By Ben Smith
June 20, 2017
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Where will you be on August 21, 2017? If you are lucky enough to be in the path of the solar eclipse, we hope you plan to take some time to view this extraordinary and rare phenomenon. And if you aren't in the path, consider watching it live on NASA TV. This is a great opportunity to engage in some science, and it can also be a time to connect with the ISTE Standards as well. Here are some ideas and resources to use with the solar eclipse. 

Solar Science: Exploring Sunspot, Seasons, Eclipses and More. This book, published by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), covers a comprehensive set of activities to prepare for the solar eclipse. These activities can be used with any grade level and describe how the sun moves through the sky, how the moon moves through the sky and the causes of eclipses. NSTA also offers a free comprehensive viewing guide

Data Challenge 2: Connect to Solar Eclipse 2017. We created this book and teacher’s guide to lead students (and teachers) through the process of collecting and analyzing big data. The book is aligned with the ISTE Standards for Students and Next Generation Science Standards, and contains activities related to the solar eclipse. Find data challenges at the end of the book, including one that requires students to overlap the position of the moon and sun in the sky and learn why the solar eclipse will occur on Aug. 21, 2017.

NASA eclipse site. This NASA site will broadcast the event live and offer advice for safe eclipse viewing. It is important to remember that when viewing a solar eclipse, you should not look at the sun or eclipse without solar eclipse viewing glasses that you can buy online. You can also use pinhole projectors. NASA has STL files that can be downloaded and printed on a 3D printer. There are separate files for each state and directions for use.

Preparing for the Solar Eclipse Through 3D Printing Technology. This archived webinar will take you on a journey through the world of 3D printing and NASA science using authentic resources connected to the sun, heliophysics and the upcoming solar eclipse. This virtual workshop will open with an introduction to 3D printing and will explain how a NASA makerspace has evolved the way that NASA engineers work and learn. Find out how 3D printing can be applied to the upcoming solar eclipse, while benefiting from the advice and tips provided by experts in the field. This website offers a lot of information on the path of the eclipse, weather predictions, preparation tips and maps.

The Great American Elipse. This website offers educational resources and information about the eclipse as well as an online store where you can buy viewing glasses. This viewing guide from offers news, tips and resources about the eclipse.

A total eclipse offers a great opportunity to engage kids in science, so don't miss the chance to teach students about it even if it's over my the time school starts again. And for those who miss it, don't worry. Another total solar eclipse is due to sweep across the United States in 2024.  


Ben Smith is the STEM consultant and educational technology program specialist for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania. Prior to that, he was the science chair and physics teacher at the Red Lion Area School District for 27 years. Follow him on Twitter @edtechben or @LIU12_STEM. 

Jared Mader is director of educational technology for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania. Prior to that, he was the director of technology for five years in the Red Lion Area School District. Follow him on Twitter @rlmader. Ben and Jared run their own consulting business called EdTechInnovators. 

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