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Earth and Space Science

The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017

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Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 53031 Points

Dear All, Join the conversation about the total solar eclipse taking place in 2017!   1. What questions do you have about the total solar eclipse in 2017?  2. What are your plans for experiencing the eclipse?  How are your students celebrating the event?  Are you finding useful resources that you can share? Here is a collection of resources from NSTA and other institutions about the eclipse of 2017: We look forward to your posts and photos of the event! Flavio.

Lindsay Bartolone Lindsay Bartolone 10 Points

If you are interested in teaching about the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse and have enjoyed links to resources in this thread, you may be interested to register for Astronomers Without Borders Building on the Eclipse Education Program. AWB’s unique Building on the Eclipse Education Program uses the high-profile eclipse event as inspiration and the starting point for continuing STEM education lessons and activities to be conducted in the following academic year. The program offers an exciting educational resource package that uses eclipse viewing glasses and spectroscope kits in lesson plans developed by our team of professional science educators in cooperation with Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and Science Technology Advanced Resource, Inc. An online support community and professional development sessions are also offered. Online registration for the program is now open at , and a limited number of spectroscope kits are available free to eligible groups registering early thanks to a generous donation from Rainbow Symphony.

Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 53031 Points

Here is a link to a blog written by Dennis Schatz and Andrew Fraknoi (virtual conference presenters and NSTA Press authors) about school wide or community wide programs for the 2017 solar eclipse. Flavio.

Leslee Scruggs Leslee Scruggs 1310 Points

Hi, I was very interested in signing up and attempted to get my school to sponsor the PD, however when we looked up on a map who was going to be able to actually view the total solar eclipse, we here in Delray Beach would not be able to see it. I just want to confirm that we would not be able to see it right? And is there a live virtual viewing option for the eclipse? Thanks so much! ~Leslee S. American Heritage School Delray Beach, FL

Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 53031 Points

Dear Leslee, The total solar eclipse will not be visible in Florida.  The closest location is South Carolina. HOWEVER, the entire US will see a partial solar eclipse, which will still be valuable to see. Plus, it will be extremely important that students and their families know how to safely observe the partial eclipse.  Safe viewing techniques will be part of the virtual conference. Finally, although you cannot see the total eclipse, it will be available for viewing on multiple social media sites, plus on the cable and national television stations.  The excitement around the eclipse - even the partial eclipse - will be a great motivator for students to understand what is happening in the sky.  In Delray, more than 75% of the Sun will be covered by Moon. I hope this information is useful. Flavio Mendez on behalf of Dennis Schatz (virtual conference presenter)

Jennifer Trattner Jennifer Trattner 2210 Points

Ideas on using models for younger students to understand the phases of the moon? Resources?

Claire Raftery Claire Raftery 10 Points

Hi Jennifer, I really like the series of lessons called "Eye on the Sky" These lessons are focussed on K-4 and are best used in sequence since each lessons builds on the last. Good luck! Claire

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Jennifer, I have been wanting to make this phases of the moon viewer. Here is a link for it: One of the things I do is have the children cut out the weather forecast each day from the newspaper and we tape them along the wall in timeline format because it also has sunrise, sunset, and moon phases on it. They can keep a log and go outside each night and draw what they see, if they miss a night, they know it will be posted the next day. Just like in math, it helps them to see and learn that it is a pattern, a cycle that happens over and over. There are some great resources here on NSTA. Choose elementary, lesson plans, and whatever content strand you want.

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

You might like making a flip book for the moon phases.

Alison Wright Alison Thalmann 16435 Points

Emily Morgan writes a beautiful series called The Next Time You See. I would set the books up in my Science Center and students would be drawn to the vivid pictures and topics (sea shells, pill bugs, spiderwebs, the sunset, the moon). The link below is to NSTA Press Extras Next Time You See the Moon, which will provide you activities to do before and after reading Next Time You See the Moon, and it has a helpful video of Emily Morgan, the author, modeling the phases of the moon in a demonstration that would be easy to replicate in your classroom. moon.aspx' target="_blank"> moon.aspx Many of NSTA Press books provide additional online resources. There are beautiful youtube book trailers for The Next Time You See series. Here is a link to a collection of resources for The Next Time You See series:

Alison Wright Alison Thalmann 16435 Points

Although this article is from 2003, I think there is a lot of good information around formative assessment, the 5E instructional model, and the moon phases that you are interested in. Hope it is helpful. [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica][b]Seamless Assessment[/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][color=#454545][i]by: [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Mark J. Volkmann [/i][/color][/url][i]and [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Sandra K. Abell[/i][/color][/url][/color][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][url=][i][/i][/url][/font][/size][/color] I would also recommend the work of NSTA author and past President of NSTA, Page Keeley. Page and Brian Kruse did a presentation, "Investigating the Moon Through Formative Assessment Probes and Strategies that Link Concepts and Practices," at the NSTA National Conference in Nashville last year. Page Keeley also writes a column called Formative Assessment Probes: Promoting learning through assessment for NSTA's Science and Children monthly journal for elementary teachers. One article that you would be interested in is "When Is the Next Full Moon? Using K-2 Concept Cartoons." Page writes an award-winning series called Uncovering Student Ideas. I would recommend the "Going Through a Phase" chapter in Uncovering Student Ideas in Science and "Modeling the Moon" in Uncovering Student Ideas in Astronomy. Below are some links to resources of Page Keeley's in the NSTA Learning Center. [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica][b]Going Through a Phase[/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica][size=2]Book Chapter from Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Volume 1: 25 Formative Assessment Probes[/size][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][color=#454545][i]by: [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Page Keeley[/i][/color][/url][i], [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Francis Eberle[/i][/color][/url][i], and [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Lynn Farrin[/i][/color][/url][/color][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][url=][/url][/font][/size][/color] [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica][b]Gazing at the Moon[/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica][size=2]Book Chapter from Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Volume 1: 25 Formative Assessment Probes[/size][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][color=#454545][i]by: [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Page Keeley[/i][/color][/url][i], [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Francis Eberle[/i][/color][/url][i], and [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Lynn Farrin[/i][/color][/url][/color][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][url=][i][/i][/url][/font][/size][/color] [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica][b]Can It Reflect Light? [/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica]Book Chapter from Uncovering Student Ideas in Science Volume 1: 25 Formative Assessment Probes[/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][color=#454545][i]by: [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Francis Eberle[/i][/color][/url][i], [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Page Keeley[/i][/color][/url][i], and [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Lynn Farrin[/i][/color][/url][/color][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][url=][/url][/font][/size][/color]

Alison Wright Alison Thalmann 16435 Points

A couple more NSTA authors you may want to check out for ideas on using models for younger students to understand the phases of the moon would be Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan, who co-write Picture Perfect Science Lessons. Karen and Emily also wrote an NSTA book with Christine Royce, Teaching Science Through Trade Books, and write a column, Teaching Science Through Trade Books, in the NSTA Science and Children monthly journal.  Below is a link to one journal article, [b][color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica]Teaching Through Trade Books: Moon Phases and Models[/font][/size][/color][/b] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][color=#454545][i]by: [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Karen Ansberry[/i][/color][/url][i] and [/i][color=#e4af09][i][url=]Emily Morgan[/url], [/i][/color][/color][color=#111111][size=2][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]that you might be interested in.[/font][/size][/color][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][i][url=][/url][/i][/font][/size][/color] [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica][b]Moon Phases and Models, [/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica]Book Chapter from Teaching Science Through Trade Books[/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][color=#454545][i]by: [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Karen Ansberry[/i][/color][/url][i] and [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Emily Morgan[/i][/color][/url][/color][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][i][url=][/url][/i][/font][/size][/color] [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica][b]The Changing Moon, [/b][/font][/size][/color] [color=#454545][size=2][font=Helvetica]Book Chapter from Picture Perfect Science Lessons, Expanded 2nd Edition: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, 3-6[/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][color=#454545][i]by: [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Karen Ansberry[/i][/color][/url][i] and [/i][url=][color=#e4af09][i]Emily Morgan[/i][/color][/url][/color][/font][/size][/color] [color=#e4af09][size=2][font=Helvetica][url=][i][/i][/url][/font][/size][/color]

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28250 Points

Thanks for this K-4 resource Claire. I am a regional science curriculum specialist and will share this with elementary teachers.

Do you know, are these lessons NGSS aligned?
I only see links in the lessons to National Standards Addressed (2009, UC Regents), so am guessing it is aligned to the prior National Science Education Standards.

I'm sure however, that if not yet NGSS aligned, that teachers can adapt these lessons to NGSS 3-D science teaching.


Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28250 Points

A Total Solar Eclipse is an amazing event and definitely not to be missed. I was fortunate to be able to view the 1979 Total Solar Eclipse in Portland, OR. We were standing in a soccer field and watched the shadow move across the ground. Don't miss this 2017 total solar eclipse. It will leave you awestruck and is a wondrous natural event to engage students in science. Dorothy

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Dorothy, I am so glad you said that because I feel so strongly that we may not remember content but we always remember the love of learning our teachers impart.

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28250 Points

In one of today's Virtual Conference Sessions on The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017, the presenter's discussed how the 1979 Total Solar Eclipse provided evidence to support Einstein's theories.

I imagine there is great excitement in physics and astronomy about this upcoming eclipse.
What types of scientific experiments on solar science and/or data to test scientific theories are planned for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse?


Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

The Virtual Conference Session 4 has Dr. Claire Raftery sharing some outstanding  information about the sun.  She mentioned a mailing list that we can all join: [email protected] I am energized about this upcoming August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse event!

Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 53031 Points

Here is an Observer's Guide to Viewing the Eclipse authored by Fraknoi and Schatz. Good reading and to share with other teachers, parents, and students. Flavio.

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Thank you so much for the information. I like the free observing guide from NSTA, Flavio.

Matt Bobrowsky Matt Bobrowsky 6410 Points

While most documents about the eclipse discuss eye safety, what I'm not seeing is something specifically addressing the concerns of some teachers and admins about letting students view the eclipse AT ALL. In the past, some teachers or schools have kept the kids indoors with the blinds closed during an eclipse. I find that very sad. Has something been written on WHY students should see the eclipse and addressing concerns that, say, a student will remove the eclipse glasses at the wrong time? One can use a pinhole projector during the partial phases, but to see the corona during totality, you have to turn your gaze up toward the sun (and then away from the sun before totality ends). Or, if eclipse glasses are removed during totality, they must be put back on before totality ends. Can teachers safely coordinate such an activity?

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

I totally agree! Teach them how to view it safely and have them build a pinhole camera. Having said that though, in the world we live in today, we always have to guard against litigation because if a teacher can be accused of any wrong doing, they will be attacked with or without any proof.

Shalen Boyer Shalen Boyer 5750 Points

I'm extremely excited to view this! I'm in the prime viewing location so my students will have an awesome opportunity. A number of school districts in my area will be closed for this event. A couple of towns in our area are planning an entire day filled with activities! I plan on purchasing a set of solar safe viewing glasses for my students to use. I've included the link to the website if anyone is interested.

Matt Bobrowsky Matthew Bobrowsky 6410 Points

It seems odd that school districts would be closed on the day of the eclipse. This should be considered a prime educational opportunity. Also, since you say that you're in the "prime viewing location," I assume that you're located somewhere on the path of totality. Do your students understand that they'll need to remove the solar glasses during totality... and put them back on before totality ends? Matt

Dana Jara Dana Jara 1375 Points

In Anchorage, Alaska, the eclipse will be visible on the very first day of school for students. It is beginning before school starts and peaking around the time our school bell is ringing. I am hoping our principal will be open to requests of allowing students to start class a little late that day. Are there any resources out there that would give some simple information about the eclipse? I'm thinking about handing out a simple 1-page newsletter/infographic prior to school's start that would explain what is happening and offer suggestions to view the eclipse safely. I won't have the opportunity to pre-teach anything.

Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 53031 Points

Hi Dana,

It was great to meet you in Houston at the ExxonMobil Teachers Academy 2017 - congratulations on your selection to participate!

Please see the link below to a collection of resources about the Solar Eclipse. One of the resources included is a free PDF document tilted: An Observer's Guide to the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017' authored by Fraknoi and Schatz. While not a one-pager, it is an easy read that you can print and share with people and/or send to those you know electronically.

Take care,

Donald Boonstra Donald Boonstra 8585 Points

Flavio, I am very glad that you responded with this collection from the Virtual Conference. Although the Virtual Conference was several months ago, the archive and the resources become more relevant as we get closer to August. I suspect more people will be looking for these resources over the next few weeks. I will be viewing the eclipse (weather permitting) in New Plymouth, ID. I hope all these small towns along the path of totality are preparing for the hoards.

Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 53031 Points

Dear All,

We just opened registration for a free web seminar about the eclipse. The web seminar presenters are Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz, authors of NSTA Press book Solar Science.

The web seminar is taking place on Thursday, August 10, from 6:30 - 8:00 pm ET. Visit the URL below to register:

Jessica Swann Jessica Swann 235 Points

Free Eclipse 2017 Digital Experience Available from NASA and Infiniscope

Audience: Grades 5-12
Eclipse Date: Aug. 21, 2017

Introduce your students to an entirely new type of learning experience with “Eclipse 2017” from NASA and Infiniscope. Aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, the experience presents NASA’s “Eyes on the Solar System” visualization embedded within the immersive digital learning environment of Infiniscope. Learners will explore the Earth-moon-sun system; learn about shadows at the astronomical level; and predict the eclipse’s path of totality.

Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 53031 Points

Ready for the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017:

I am in Manning, SC, with family and friends ready for tomorrow's event. How about you? Share your plans and photos with other educators.
Clear skies to All!


Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

I was unable to get to a site to see the total eclipse. Instead, i hosted an event at a local nature center in Harrisburg, PA. We set up a station on a boardwalk in the wetlands with an unobstructed view of the sky. We had materials for pinhole projectors and I had received several viewers from the Planetary Society. Most of the attendees were adults walking in the Park. They were appreciative of the opportunity to view the eclipse in a safe manner. A few were unaware that a partial eclipse could be seen in our area.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

I was in Carbondale, Illinois for the Totality, Flavio. It was so exciting to be with thousands of fellow "Totalitarians" to share the experience together. A huge cloud came along just before the moon was about to completely block the sun; however, a small window of opportunity allowed us to capture enough of the event to be awed. I was able to catch a glimpse of the "diamond ring" effect and loved how it got dark enough to feel like it was dusk and to experience a slight temperature drop (that was especially appreciated since it was a scorcher of a day?). Can't wait for 2024! I might try a different spot to see it as it is cold in Carbondale in April :-) How remarkable that Carbondale is at the crossroads for both of these eclipses!

Flavio Mendez Flavio Mendez 53031 Points

Carolyn, I was in Manning, SC, at the local high school with my family and Mother who was visiting from PR. We joined our great friends from Virginia and together enjoyed an awesome event! We had great weather and clear skies. During totality we felt a slight drop on the temperature and could see Venus appear in the sky. On the way home, as advertised, we experienced significant traffic on I-95. We plan to watch it again on 2024! Flavio.

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11965 Points

I wonder how many others in this group were able to see Totality? It was truly a memorable experience. We were in Ravenna, NE, with a group from the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association, and Delta College's Astronomy Club. WE also felt the temperature drop, saw Venus and Regulus, and heard insects that typically do not start calling until dusk. I snapped this photo of the diamond ring.


Bob Riddle Bob Riddle 115 Points

Here is a collection of pictures taken during the solar eclipse by NSTA members.

Ashley Banegas Ashley Banegas 2920 Points

Hello Everyone, I stayed here in Miami, FL to witness the Solar Eclipse 2017. Not only was it the first day of my last year of my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, but it was also my 19th birthday! I was at a loss of words when I found out this beautiful gift from nature landed on my special day. I went on ahead and purchased some ISO certified Solar Eclipse glasses for the whole family. My plans were to watch the solar eclipse from my house and then head to class. The eclipse was only about 80% visible in the Miami-Dade County area, it also started and ended around 1-4PM (2:58PM being its peak). I went on ahead and researched on the 2017 Solar Eclipse (rarity, occurrences, why it happens, what happens to the environment, etc.) I remember that the track of totality started from California and went across America. I did feel a slight drop of temperature when it was at its peak and I did notice the sunlight was dimmer than usual. My only question is how does the track of totality differ each time there is a Solar Eclipse? That same week, I went to my SCE4311 classroom and discussed about the Solar Eclipse with my whole class. August 21, 2017 was a very special and memorable day to me. Ashley Banegas Florida International University Miami, FL

Megan Doty Megan Doty 11847 Points

Hi Ashley, I'm happy that the eclipse was such a special and memorable day for you! I think we were all struck by the phenomena and look forward to the next. Here's an article that explains the path of totality from this year. The path will be different in 2024 - maybe you'll be able to see it then! -Megan

Natalie Townsend Natalie Heitkamp 555 Points

Hi! During the eclipse I was in a school in Ohio. We were planning on looking out the window during the eclipse to see what changes there were outside. Our classroom windows did not face the sun so we felt it would be okay to look outside. However, at the same time we should have been experiencing the eclipse, we had a little rain shower come through and were unable to see any change. Hopefully during the next one we will all have the special glasses and can all watch it!

Matt Bobrowsky Matt Bobrowsky 6410 Points

Natalie, I'm not sure where in Ohio you were, but if you were in an area with 85% obscuration of the sun, you wouldn't have noticed any changes outside, even without the rain.

For April 8, 2024, plan a field trip to be near the center of the path of totality, e.g., in northern Ohio.


Leonela Chiriboga Leonela Chiriboga 3330 Points

Hello! I am from Miami, FL and was able to experience the solar eclipse. Although it did not cover 85% of the sun from where I am, I was able to see about 60% of the sun covered. I was able to purchase glasses from NASA that will not only protect my eyes when looking at the sun, but It allowed me to watch the solar eclipse. From where I was standing, at 2:00 p.m. I was able to see the moon covering half the sun. I work in an aftercare with middle schools students, and I was able to share my glasses with them so that they could also experience the solar eclipse. This was a great opportunity for me to teach the students about the solar eclipse and how rare it is to come around. With my NSTA subscription, I was able to read the student's articles on the solar eclipse and find interesting information that even I did not know.

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