Resources are below the HASTI Position Statement
HASTI'S Position Statement about the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse
HASTI strongly encourages science teachers to use events such as the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse as anchoring phenomena in which to create engaging units of study whose primary purpose is to help students understand the phenomena. For any teachers feeling unsure or confused about how to implement the new NGSS based standards, developing a unit around the eclipse can be a great first step. Because of the widespread nature of the event, there will be a lot of buzz and many other teachers preparing to teach the exact same phenomenon.
The 2024 Total Solar Eclipse is a great example of an anchoring phenomenon. An anchoring phenomenon will get students excited and will get them wondering. It is a vehicle to have students engage in the scientific practices (SEPS) and looking for cross-cutting concepts in order to help make sense of the phenomenon. Think of anchoring phenomena as the building blocks of the curriculum. Rather than orienting the curriculum around a series of series of scientific principles, using anchoring phenomena helps focus the curriculum around a series of phenomena that students experience, engage with, and make sense of.
Creating a unit around the upcoming solar eclipse is a great way to practice three-dimensional teaching. Students are going to be curious about the event, and will likely hear a lot about it, especially in the months and weeks immediately leading up to it. Students will likely have questions about the eclipse. This is a great opportunity to let them ask those questions, and then let the quest to finding answers guide the classroom activities (SEPS-1). This particular phenomenon is particularly suited to SEPS-2, developing and using models. This can range from physical models to help students visual the alignment of sun, moon, and earth during an eclipse, to mathematical models (for example, calculating the apparent size of the moon and sun). There are also great opportunities for real-time data collection (for example, outside temperature before, during and after the eclipse). This would relate to SEPS-3, planning and carrying out investigations.
We encourage teachers to think of making lesson plans around the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse not as a one-time event, but as practice for creating curriculum centered on anchoring phenomena. For many teachers, the science of the eclipse may not seem to link in directly with what is usually taught at that time of year. However, there are a wide variety of concepts that can be linked to the eclipse—force and motion, properties of waves, photosynthesis, nuclear reactions, and conservation of energy, to name a few. We encourage teachers to think about which of those concepts fit into their standards for the year, and to use the eclipse to excite and engage students. The skills learned in preparing this unit will be useful for planning future units of study around exciting and engaging anchoring phenomena that are of interest to your students in your particular community.
Teachers are encouraged to begin planning now for how the eclipse will be experienced in their community. There are graphical simulations of how the eclipse will be experienced in different cities, with minute by minute simulations (see https://eclipse2024.org/eclipse_cities/ ). Circumstances will be different for various districts, depending on the dismissal time. Some districts may cancel school altogether on April 8, 2024. Talking to your administrators early, and showing them this position statement, can help ensure that they are on board with helping students fully experience this natural phenomenon.
HASTI encourages teachers to begin planning ahead now in order to make the Solar Eclipse an exciting and educational experience for their students. Teachers interested in purchasing classroom sets of eclipse glasses will want to do so up to a year in advance. Companies will sell out of eclipse glasses in the months leading up to the eclipse. The American Astronomical Society has compiled a list of reputable companies that sell eclipse glasses (see https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters). Teachers should ONLY purchase glasses from one of these vendors, as the safety of our students is paramount. Teachers should educate their students on the need for wearing the glasses while observing any phase of the eclipse, except totality. There are other methods for safely viewing the eclipse (e.g. pinhole cameras). Teachers should not attempt to incorporate telescopes or binoculars using solar filters unless they have special expertise in the use of such equipment, as incorrect usage of the equipment could result in permanent eye injuries. HASTI is working on finding live broadcasts as well, so if students are unable to observe the eclipse in person or if cloudy weather prevents them, they can still experience this once in a lifetime event.
Resources specific to Indiana from the IDOE:
IDOE has collected a large number of eclipse related lesson plans and activities from NASA: https://www.in.gov/doe/students/stem-education/eclipse/
Indiana state specific web site about the eclipse, and it includes a section for educators. https://www.in.gov/dhs/solar-eclipse-2024/
There will be an eclipse viewing event at the Speedway (it will be one of the NASA broadcast sites): https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/news-multimedia/news/2023/10/08/10-08-Eclipse-Tickets
Other events around the state may be added at the Visitindiana eclipse site: https://www.visitindiana.com/eclipse2024/
NSTA has a webpage full of Solar Eclipse resources:
1. NSTA Solar Eclipse Guide for Educators (http://bit.ly/eclipsesforteachers ) – Includes ways to find out what will happen at your location, background and teaching suggestions regarding the eclipses, and safe viewing strategies.
2. NSTA Solar Eclipse Guide for Administrators (http://bit.ly/eclipsesforadministrators ) – Includes key information school administrators will need, to encourage them to support students observing the eclipse, rather than forbid students go outside.
3. NSTA Handouts for Family and Friends (http://bit.ly/eclipsesforstudents ) – These are two-page handouts for each eclipse, that give the key facts about what happens during the eclipse and suggestions for safe viewing strategies.
Visit NSTA for webinars about the 2024 Solar Eclipse:
American Astronomical Society (has hosted and will host extensive webinars on being ready)
Great resource for early elementary discovering shadows (application of course to the eclipse)
Safe eclipse viewing:
Cereal box pinhole camera from NASA Goddard:
Using telescopes to watch eclipses as a group safely:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCnZlH4-6Go
Q&A for teachers about the Eclipse:
The FREE Totality app, which will soon be announced as the official eclipse app of the American Astronomical Society.
The new Totality book, targeted primarily at grades 3 and up, though younger kids might still like the rhyme even if the science is above them.
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