Superintendents, get excited. Here’s how to teach about the eclipse

The total solar eclipse coming on April 8 is surely the kind of opportunity that should get superintendents looking back fondly on their teaching days.

If your school district is in the “path of totality” for this spring’s solar eclipse, you and your community are in line for a once-in-a-liftetime learning experience. The total solar eclipse coming on April 8 is surely the kind of opportunity that should get superintendents looking back fondly on their teaching days—so listed below are ideas to share with teachers for bringing this celestial spectacle down to earth for your students.

Safety, of course, is always on every superintendent’s mind. Here’s what NASA advises about watching the eclipse without harming your eyesight.

K12 educators can expand the lessons beyond science and STEM, advises Paige Walling, SwiSTEM Services Coordinator at the University of Southern Indiana. The university is inviting K12 students to a “Solarpalooza” celebration on the day of the eclipse.


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“Let’s also look at how eclipses are written about in literature; let’s look at the art,” Walling notes. “We’d like to school pull all that in. In pretty much any discipline, there’s something related to eclipses.”

The University of Southern Indiana has an extensive list of eclipse learning activities for elementary to high school. Students can analyze Emily Dickinson’s 1891 eclipse poem, “It Sounded As if the Streets Were Running,” or estimate the speed of the lunar shadow.

The National Science Teaching Association has posted a series of teaching resources and webinars to help educators make the most of the solar eclipse. In the guide written specifically for administrations, it suggests educators can tie the eclipse into various state standards, such as the phases of the moon.

Here’s what else is out there:

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is the managing editor of District Administration and a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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