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Harnessing the Excitement of the Upcoming 2024 Solar Eclipse

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Kevin Anderson, Science Consultant, Wisconsin DPI

Edgar came back to visit me about five years after he had completed eighth grade. The first thing he asked was, “Do you still take students to that observatory?” He didn’t remember all the lessons on motion and forces, subatomic particles, or biological macromolecules. He remembered the sense of wonder at seeing planets, nebulae, and globular clusters for the first time.

On April 8, we have the opportunity in Wisconsin to excite childrens’ sense of wonder about the world around them by helping them view a partial solar eclipse! In Milwaukee, the sun will be 89.6% covered at 2:08 p.m., in Madison it’ll be 86.9% covered at 2:06 p.m., and 84.5% in Green Bay at 2:09 p.m. Where will your students be? How can we use this amazing natural phenomenon to inspire wonder and teach about the paths of the sun and moon?

This connects directly to Earth and Space Science standards at first grade, fifth grade, and in middle school. With writing, calculations, and stories from different cultures, connections can readily be made to literacy, mathematics, and social studies.

Read about the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Chippewa) cultural understanding of solar eclipses, and how to connect that with your solar eclipse teaching.

What’s possible in your community?
Classes of students can go outside guided by teachers, possibly under the guidance of teacher leaders. You might invite the whole community to a larger event with speakers who explain what’s happening, and may even connect it to local cultural stories. A group trip a few hundred miles south to see the total solar eclipse might not even be out of the question!

Let's talk about best practices for safety while viewing the sun. First, know that eye damage is extremely rare, but it is important to plan for many ways to be safe, such as:

Resources for further information