What Can We Learn from the Eclipse?

Posted by Kelly Emerson - 18 August, 2017

Bonaker-eclipse.jpgAs everyone is aware, there is an exciting event coming up very soon – a solar eclipse!

At Randolph, we are committed to the value of experiential learning and the opportunity to participate in a rare moment of astronomical history that happens during the school day and on our campus, is one that our faculty have taken up with great enthusiasm.

eclipse art - M Davis 1st.jpgOur students, faculty, and staff will all receive a pair of special viewing glasses purchased, ahead of the rush, with money from the Randolph Fund. 

Our science department has planned many engaging activities and speakers leading up to the event so our students can get the most out of the experience.



Kindergarten-2nd grade will hear a presentation from Mike Watson, Avionics Sensors Engineer at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. They will also being doing classroom activities to help engage their learning, including making eclipse art, like this piece by Mrs. Davis's 1st grade class.

FullSizeRender-22.jpgOur 3rd-8th graders will get a chance to learn from John Hanson, Alternate Lead Systems Engineer, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

Doreen Forsythe (pictured), the Solar System Ambassador for NASA., spoke with 6th graders about the history of the total eclipse, what will happen in Nashville at totality, and here in Huntsville at 97%. In addition, she provided them with some activities to do on the day of the eclipse.

Middle School art teacher Mary Jones is planning a “capture the eclipse” on paper project. "Artists’ intentions often include capturing a moment in time," she says. Students will be creating memories, as well as using a blocking-out method for applying color.

In the Upper School, the daily schedule has been revised to build in time for Upper School students to view the eclipse together. 

"It’s important for us to be intentional about the opportunities we have to share in an experience," says Ryan Liese, Head of Upper School. "While it might disrupt our typical schedule, we see this as an important investment in our school’s culture and sense of community, as well as an opportunity to engage with science in a unique manner."

Lauren Jones'  Environmental Science students will discuss and calculate the solar energy lost during the eclipse (enough to power Los Angeles!) and talk about renewable/clean/solar energy. 

I sat down with our 5th and 6th grade science specialists to find out what we hope our students can learn from the experience. They hope that the solar eclipse will:

  • Increase their wonder of the natural world
  • Foster the feeling of being a part of the large number of people who are able to view the eclipse
  • Provide an understanding og how the eye works and the need for safety glasses for viewing
  • Connect science to history
  • Demonstrate how technology has changed since the previous total eclipse in 1918
  • Increase cultural awareness  
  • Connect science learning with current events.

Below are some resources that you can use to make the most of this event with your family. Remember, safety first and enjoy the show!

Topics: interdisciplinary, science, the world, eclipse

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