16 Ways to Study the Total Solar Eclipse in Your Classroom

On August 21, 2017, we’ll see something the country has not seen in 38 years: a total solar eclipse. The day will excite students and science teachers alike. The below resources introduce students to eclipses, both lunar and solar, and prepare them for the solar eclipse.

These 16 resources compliment the Legends of Learning series of eclipse games and lesson plan that can be found in the Eclipses and Seasons Learning Objective.  Legends of Learning published a lesson plan for this Learning Objective, too, and on July 10 will offer two of its games — “Walter’s Travels” and “Bubble Eclipse” — publicly on its Alpha Games page as a public service.

Websites

 

Interactive Media

  • Eclipse2017.org App. Go mobile with the Eclipse2017 app. With it, students will learn about eclipses and how to find the best location to watch “totality” occur. (Available on iOS and Android)
  • Eclipses and Seasons. Encourage engagement and solidify learning objectives with Legends of Learning’s seven games about eclipses and seasons. If wishing to cross into other science subjects, look at the “The Sun, Moon, and Stars: Patterns of Apparent Motion” games, as well as “Our Solar System.”
  • JavaScript Solar Eclipse Explorer. Eclipses are historical events, and this web-based calculator provides data not only on past eclipses but also future ones.
  • NASA’s Extremely Accurate Map for August’s Total Solar Eclipse. Use this tool to combine geography and science. Students can use the tool to identify the best states for solar-eclipse watching on August 21, 2017.
  • SpaceMath. Show students how mathematics applies to real-world scientific studies with this in-depth resource from NASA. The page features numerous math activities designed to present eclipses and astronomy in a “different light.”
  • THE GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE. With this resource, your classroom can watch the total solar eclipse in real time. Discover’s Science Channel will cover the eclipse as it happens, then follow up with a one-hour special during primetime.
  • Total Solar Eclipse Animation. Prepare students for the eclipse launch date with PBS NOVA’s animation. For additional classroom resources, check out PBS’ toolkit, webinar, and videos.

Classroom Activities

  • Build a Sun Funnel. Spend the first few weeks of August with a collaborative science project, the Sun Funnel. While inexpensive, the funnel takes some time and expertise to build, so you may want to practice building one at home before introducing the project to the classroom. For simpler versions of the concept, consider using the Exploratorium’s instructions for building a pinhole camera from a UPS shipping container or SPACE’s shoebox concept.
  • Create an Eclipse in the Classroom. Styrofoam and cardboard possess magical properties, becoming anything from molecules and atoms to planetary systems. Follow the guide to help students create Earth-Moon-Sun systems and explore how solar and lunar eclipses work.
  • Exploring the Solar System: Solar Eclipse. This instructional tool uses an inflatable Earth to teach students three curriculum-based learning objectives. Provided by the National Informal STEM Education (NISE) Network, the tool includes resources for English- and Spanish-speaking students.
  • How to Film or Photograph the 2017 Solar Eclipse Like a Pro. Unite the arts and sciences with SPACE’s instructions on how to film or photograph the solar eclipse. Warning: This resource features some advanced photography and film techniques, so you’ll either want to use it with advanced photography students or adapt the methods to your particular classroom.
  • Yardstick Eclipse Activity. This classroom activity from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) caters to the older crowd that may be less than pleased with cardboard and Styrofoam projects. You can create the activity from scratch or purchase a pre-made kit for $35.00.

Other Resources

 

Have you taught about lunar and solar eclipses before? What are your favorite lesson plans, activities, or resources? Share your thoughts in the comments or start a thread in the community forum.

News: Readying Launch of Several Hundred Middle School Science Games

This is a copy of a news release issued today.

Legends of Learning getting ready to launch our online platform of several hundred curriculum-based science games for middle school earth and space science, life sciences, and physical science curricula later this month. The company was founded after the results from a forthcoming research study, “Substantial Integration of Typical Educational Games into Extended Curricula,” from Vanderbilt University revealed that short, simple education games aligned to curriculum standards improve student engagement and academic performance.

 

Founded by former research scientist Vadim Polikov, Legends of Learning stands for the principle that rigorous academic research needs to form the foundation of strategies that take blended learning techniques such as game-based learning to the next level. The wide-ranging study — more than 1,000 students in seven states and in schools with differing student bodies, socioeconomic factors and geographical locations — demonstrated statistically significant success.

One year later, Legends of Learning’s content platform and games are being tested and vetted by hundreds of teachers across the country in preparation for the official launch later this month. The company will demonstrate its platform and games at the National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference in Los Angeles, March 30-April 2, 2017.

More than 100 middle schools will use Legends of Learning in their classrooms when it launches. Scores of teachers using the platform will participate in a second study to demonstrate efficacy and best practices for blended learning with curricula endgames. The second study will be conducted by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Vanderbilt University.

“Original research is critical to our education system’s overall success,” said Vadim Polikov. “I firmly believe that proving — or disproving — hypotheses with strong rigorous research is the best way to move education forward. One of the most crucial aspects for the education sector to adapt new methods is efficacy. Educators’ time is at a premium now, so providing them with something that is demonstrably effective and easy to use has a far greater chance of being implemented.”

Some unique aspects of Legends of Learning’s approach to education include:

  • Building games off existing middle school science curriculum standards to ensure content not only engages students but also helps them succeed in their studies;
  • Using an intuitive platform similar to Netflix and Amazon to make it easy and natural for teachers to use the games in their classrooms; and
  • Releasing a dashboard that allows teachers to observe student comprehension in real time.

Teachers interested in being part of the Legends of Learning Ambassador program can visit legendsoflearning.com/teachers. Legends of Learning will take 100 teacher ambassadors to the ISTE 2017 Conference & Expo in San Antonio, June 25-28. For more information about Legends of Learning visit legendsoflearning.com.

Our First Demo Science Games Are Up

We’ve got great news, Legend! Our first set of curriculum-based science games is now available for demo. If you want to try the games for yourself, create an account today.

demogames

The sample games have been built out for the following learning objectives:

Remember, this is just the beginning. In March, we roll out hundreds of games for 90 lessons across Earth and Space, Life, and Physical Sciences. After completing the science games, Legends of Learning will expand into other subjects and grades.

Even if you are not a science teacher, you might want to refer colleagues, right?

So what are you waiting for? Spread the word, and become a Legend of Learning!

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