I am not a space fan. The last time I was a student in a course covering astronomy was 8th grade. The hubs loves space which is lucky. He has been mentioning the upcoming eclipse for a while and I knew I had to get prepared.
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Step 1: I had to admit my ignorance.
That means that I didn’t check out the grown up videos on space. I started from the beginning and watched Crash Course Kids and Bill Nye to jog my memory (it’s been a long time since 8th grade). This is my favorite.
Step 2: Accept that I wasn’t Going to Get Fully Up to Speed
I quickly realized the holes in my astrophysics knowledge were going to prevent me from understanding the nuances of the cosmos. I had to start asking the hard questions, what are the basics?
Step 3: Finally something I’m good at.
Thank You! This is my zone of genius. Figuring out the bare minimum to understand a concept.
That doesn’t sound like a plus when I put it that way, but it is. That means that I can look at a complex topic and figure out the pieces that build upon each other to gain an advanced knowledge.
If you know the pieces, you can begin to teach the material. For me, it was seeing that the foundation is about the orbits of the Earth & Moon. Grab this printable model to help.
Step 4: Get Ready to Show the Kids
We have touched on space and constellations on and off for years (thanks to the hubs).
If you are getting ready for the eclipse, I suggest starting with a lunar cycle tracker, an app like Star Walk, a constellation book like Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky, and some simple printables for modeling.
That will give you the basics to introduce:
- Orbits of the moon and earth
- The role of the sun as light energy
- Explore what a star is and why stars appear to move
- Track Lunar Cycles
- Discuss what lunar and solar eclipses are and why the total solar eclipse in August is such a rare event.
If you are looking for more information to create a unit, you might want to see the entire unit that I have available here.
Telescopes are great for sky watching, but typically not safe for viewing a solar eclipse. Safe viewing of a solar eclipse requires special filters like these glasses here. You can get the specifications from NASA for safe viewing. You can also create viewers that let you indirectly see what is happening.
Even though I am not an astronomy buff I am looking forward to sharing this eclipse with my family and we might do a little celebrating with some of our favorite space travelers – the folks from Star Wars and Star Trek.
What are you doing to prepare for the upcoming eclipse?
Grab this printable rotation model to start getting ready!