On August 21, 2017, a spectacular total eclipse of the Sun will grace the daytime skies across the continental U.S.A. along a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina . Meanwhile a deep partial solar eclipse will also be visible from the entire North American continent (greater than 60% coverage for the whole continent).
Astronomical events capture the popular imagination, create excitement, and generate tremendous media attention. For educators, this historic eclipse event also represents an unprecedented opportunity for STEM awareness and support of STEM education programs.
AWB’s unique eclipse program uses the eye-catching eclipse as inspiration and the starting point for continuing STEM education in schools and institutions across North America.
We invite schools, libraries, museums, nature centers, afterschool groups and scouts across the US to register. This program particularly seeks educational institutions in underserved communities including inner cities, Native American reservations, military installation, children’s cancer hospitals, as well as in isolated rural communities.
AWB will provide a unique educational resource package that includes eclipse-viewing glasses and personal solar spectroscope kits, along with lesson plans developed by our team of professional science educators on utilizing these items during and after the eclipse.
Our nationwide network of amateur astronomy clubs and other volunteers will also provide on-the-ground support to teachers and their institutions, not only for observing the eclipse itself, but with continuing STEM lessons using solar observations and study of the solar spectrum.
The solar spectrum and the characteristics of the Sun will be used for lessons in many science fields, not just solar astronomy. Topics may include the Sun as the source of all energy on Earth with discussions about renewable energy and climate change, effects of changing light on plant growth, the Sun as necessary for all life on Earth, weather and climate, and more.
The countdown to the most anticipated astronomical event in decades has begun. Now is the time for educators to seize this special moment in time and leverage the fleeting spectacle of the great American eclipse to plant the seeds of wonderment about the connections between nature and science.
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