Unlocking the Great North American Solar Eclipse: A Creative Gateway in My ELA Classroom

April 8th is a special day not only for North Americans, but also for everyone who is passionate about space and solar eclipse. It’s the Great American Solar Eclipse! Even if you are on the totality path or not, you can use this day to teach your students more about solar eclipses and develop their ELA skills in one go. For me solar eclipses are a mesmerizing celestial dance that have fascinated me for a really long time. This cosmic event will bring our community together, as everyone will look up in wonder, sharing the awe of the eclipse’s beauty. It’s also the perfect opportunity to use fascinating activities in my ELA class. So hang on a second and see why I am so excited!

Great North American Solar Eclipse

What is actually a solar eclipse and why should I care about it?

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon positions itself between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow that temporarily obscures the sun from our view. This natural phenomenon is more than just a stunning visual spectacle. It offers valuable insights into celestial mechanics of our solar system’s bodies. Eclipses have historically been pivotal in advancing our understanding of the cosmos, such as validating Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

For educators and students, witnessing a solar eclipse is a compelling way to bring the abstract concepts of astronomy and physics to life, fostering a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the universe and the importance of scientific inquiry. The rarity of eclipses in any given location adds a layer of exclusivity to the experience, making it a memorable event that can inspire curiosity and a lifelong passion for learning about the cosmos. So if you are on the path of totality, get outside and watch the spectacle!

How can you look at the solar eclipse safely with your students?

Viewing a solar eclipse safely with students requires preparation and education to ensure everyone’s eyesight is protected. Start by acquiring ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses for each student, which are specifically designed to block harmful solar radiation. Before the event, conduct an informative session to demonstrate the correct way to use the glasses and to discuss the importance of never looking directly at the sun without proper protection, even during partial phases of the eclipse.

Setting up projection methods, such as a pinhole projector or a telescope with a solar filter, can provide a safe and indirect way to observe the eclipse, allowing students to witness this spectacular event without risk. Encouraging questions and facilitating discussions around the science of eclipses can further enrich this educational experience, making it a memorable and safe learning opportunity for all involved.

What should I do in my class to get my students excited about this event?

Bringing solar eclipses into ELA classes? Now that’s a cool twist! Imagine your students channeling their inner pots, penning poems and stories with the eclipse as their muse. You could dive into tales and myths where eclipses play the starring role, dissecting how these cosmic events are more than just science—they’re mirrors to our own world, our emotions. It’s a chance to show them that literature isn’t just words on a page, but it’s a reflection of everything around us, even the stars above. What a way to spark creativity and curiosity, right?

If you have no idea where to start, let me share with you 3 solar eclipse resources that I’ve already tried this week and which my students totally loved.

⭐ Solar Eclipse Blackout Poetry Template – There can’t be anything better for a solar eclipse than blackout poetry. This activity was actually a wonderful blend of science, art, and personal reflection. The students really succeeded in capturing the awe-inspiring nature of solar eclipses in literary form.

⭐ Solar Eclipse Color by Number Reading Passage – I was on the fence at first about offering my students a color by number activity. But to my great surprise they were so excited about it. They did the reading tasks, colored the image provided and were in the moment. It was fun, relaxing and totally skill oriented.

 Solar Eclipse Escape Room – I wanted to do an activity that will keep my students off technology, moving around and make their brain really work. The escape room that I used comes with 12 catchy puzzles and hints if they need them. The best part is that they do not need to have any previous knowledge about solar eclipses. My students actually learned a lot just from playing this game. And oh, they had so much fun!

What will I do next? There are 3 more days from this week and I plan to dive into some other fun solar eclipse activities. I want to do a 2 sentence solar eclipse narrative, read and analyze a poem about solar eclipses, write some haikus, and send them on a scavenger hunt. It’s going to be an amazing week!

How are you using this solar eclipse in your class this week? If you need more ideas, you can get them HERE.

Great North American Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipses are so rare and beautiful. Do not let this opportunity pass and use it in your class! You will see a renewed level of engagement and fascination. My students simply love these kinds of activities and I know that your students will love them as well. How are you celebrating this event in your ELA class? Drop below a comment and share your ideas!

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