“Teachable Moment”: Science teachers use the upcoming solar eclipse to make a point

“Teachable Moment”: Science teachers use the upcoming solar eclipse to make a point

Seventh grader Henry Cohen jumped side to side in time to the tune of The Beatles' “Here Comes the Sun” playing in teacher Nancy Morris's class, swinging his arms open and closed across the planets depicted on his shirt.

Henry and other classmates at Riverside School in Cleveland were on their feet, dancing during a session of April Day activities. Total solar eclipse. Second graders invited to attend the lessons sat cross-legged on the floor, laughing as they made newly decorated eclipse viewing glasses. Dioramas containing softball-sized models of Earth and moons and flashlight “suns” occupied desks and shelves around the room.

Henry said his shirt reflects his love of space, which he described as a “cool mystery.” The eclipse “is a one-in-a-million chance and I'm glad to be here for it,” he said.

For schools in or near it The path of totalitarianism After the April 8 eclipse, the event inspired lessons in science, literacy and culture. Some schools also organize group shows for students Experience the dread of the darkness of the day And learn about the astronomy behind it together.

Just a hair's breadth from the total track, the school system in Portville, N.Y., near the Pennsylvania line, plans to load 500 students from seventh to 12th grades onto buses and drive about 15 minutes down the track, to an old horse barn overlooking the valley. There, they will be able to Track the shadow of the eclipse It arrives around 3:20 PM EST.

It required rearranging school day hours to stay in session, but Superintendent Thomas Simon said staff didn't want to miss the opportunity to learn, especially at a time when students are experiencing so much of life through screens.

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“We want them to leave here that day feeling like a very small part of a very wonderful planet that we live on, and the world that we live in, and that there are some real amazing things that we can experience in the natural world,” Simon said.

Schools in Cleveland and some other cities in the eclipse's path will be closed that day so that students don't get stuck on buses or in the crowds of people expected to gather. At Riverside, Morris comes up with a mix of crafts, games and models to teach and engage her students early.

“They didn't realize how important this was until we started talking about it,” Morris said.

learning about Moon phases and eclipses This is built into every state's science standards, said Dennis Schatz, former president of the National Association for Science Teaching. Some school systems have their own planetariums — leftovers from the 1960s Space Race — where students can participate in educational demonstrations about astronomy.

But there's no better lesson than the real thing, said Schatz, who encourages teachers to use the eclipse as a “teachable moment.”

Dallas science teachers Anita Orozco and Katherine Roberts plan to do just that at Lamplighter School, where they are arranging for all students from pre-kindergarten through fourth grade to watch it together outdoors. Teachers spent a Saturday in March at an education workshop at the University of Texas at Dallas, where they were told that keeping students inside would be “almost criminal.”

“We want our students to love science as much as we do, and we just want them to understand and also be in awe of how crazy this event is,” Roberts said.

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Wrestling with younger kids can be a challenge, but “we want it to be an event,” Orozco said.

In training future science teachers, University of Buffalo professor Noemi White encourages her students' teachers to incorporate how culture shapes the way people experience eclipses. For example, Native Americans might view a total eclipse as… Something sacredShe said.

“It's important for our teachers to understand this, so when they teach, they can address all of these elements,” she said.

SUNY Brockport's STEM Friends Club planned eclipse-related activities with fourth-graders in teacher Christopher Albrecht's class, hoping to pass on their passion for STEM to younger students.

“I want to show students what is possible,” said Allison Bloom, 20, a physics major focusing on astrophysics. “You know those big, mainstream jobs, like astronauts, but you don't really know what's possible in different fields.”

Albrecht sees fourth-graders' interest in the eclipse as an opportunity to incorporate reading and writing into lessons as well, and perhaps spark a love of reading.

“It's a great opportunity to read a lot with them,” Albrecht said. Select “What is a solar eclipse?” Written by Dana Mitchen-Raw and “A Few Beautiful Minutes” by Kate Allen Fox for her class at Hill Elementary School in Brockport, New York.

“It captures their interest and, at the same time, their imagination as well,” he said.

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"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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