Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sharing the Solar Eclipse

Are you ready??  The SOLAR ECLIPSE 2017 is almost here!  
Make memories, increase understandings, have fun!


It's the event of a lifetime!  The first solar eclipse to go coast to coast since 1918 (June 8th).  The last total solar eclipse to touch the United States was February 26, 1979 and it was in a corner of the northwest and on a cloudy day.

Almost everyone in the United States will be able to observe at least a 50% partial eclipse.   Many will see much more.

Young children may be totally unaware of what is going on.  It is our job to help them observe and understand.

This is so important, but it is not hard.

Start by getting proper eye protection (young children are going to want to look).  Sunglasses are not enough.  I made my own glasses with lenses from a welding supply store.  You need a lens #14 or higher.
Just take your lenses and place them into a larger piece of cardboard.  Attach with duck tape.  This will help young ones control the placement of the lens over their eyes.  They will be less likely to have the lens slip off of their eyes.
If you go online to buy some, be sure they are not fake (apparently fake glasses are popping up everywhere)

During the brief time of totality you can look with your naked eyes.

For a second way.....where you will not be looking at the sun at all, a pin box viewer is quick and easy to make.  You have all the supplies you need on hand.  I used a box, but you can get away with just a white piece of paper and a dark (stiff and won't let the sun through) paper.  I poked my hole with a bamboo skewer.  Aim the box so the sun shines through your hole.

Now that you have seen what is happening, how do you explain it to a child?  Hands on is always the best method.  I made this interactive model using a paper plate to trace my sun and moon.  My sun had triangles glued to the back to show the corona.  You could make the moon just a wee bit smaller and that would work too. If you want a printable pattern, you can find the pattern by clicking here.


This picture from NASA is a great visual too.

I like the video clip here.  I like the idea of making my own eclipse with a flashlight and a quarter.  You can find instructions here

I have a stack of books ready to read.
One of my favorites from Dawn Publications.

There will be waiting around time as the moon makes its way across the sun.  How much wait time do you have?  Check out this table for times because the fun doesn't need to be just the few minutes of totality....
I will start our fun before first contact.  I want to give my students a chance to test their viewer, make a pinbox,  and see the sun before the moon takes it's first nibble (first contact) out of the sun.  We will observe, record, do an activity (read a book, play a game, make a model), then repeat.  We will take breaks from observing for several reasons.  First students will get antsy if all you do is watch, second they will be amazed at the difference each time you look, third they will be excited about what is happening and more likely to be engaged with an activity related to the eclipse.  All of this will increase the amount they will retain in their memories.

Two activities I will be doing is rocket building and making a model of the solar system.
 You can find the Solar System here.
My husband built this awesome launcher, but you don't need anything this fancy.  
Try one of these...
Straw Rockets  
Stomp Rockets

Water Rocket (this is similar to mine but it uses a bicycle pump instead of an air compressor)

What else can you do?  Eat of course...along with Sun Chips and Milky Way bars you may want to make these tasty treats.  Can you see the shadow of the moon (half grape) and the corona of the sun (banana with yogurt glue)?
Now you are ready for some fun!!!  
It's once in a lifetime!  Carpe Diem!


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