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Solar Eclipse
By sancho_panza via Wikimedia Commons

Aug 15, 2017

STEM • STEAM • STREAM

SPOTLIGHT! On the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Citizen-Science Activity Documenting Changes in Animal Behavior

On August 21, citizen scientists will have an opportunity to make scientifically valuable observations of many aspects of animal behavior as the solar eclipse is in progress. They can join the California Academy of Sciences in conducting research into behavioral changes in plants and animals during a total solar eclipse. There is some evidence that plant and animal life react to the environmental changes that occur during a total solar eclipse. As the sky darkens and the temperature drops, birds reportedly stop singing, spiders may tear down their webs, and gray squirrels retreat to their dens. Much of these reports, however, are anecdotal or documented with captive animals. The academy invites citizen scientists from coast to coast to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record eclipse-related animal behavior with the free iNaturalist app for iOS and Android.

Activities for Witnessing the Eclipse in Your Location

With the Totality app by Big Kid Science, students can witness the coast-to-coast solar eclipse of 2017. This free app for iOS and Android tells students when, where, and what they will see on eclipse day. The app also helps students to learn how, when, and why eclipses occur, and provides activities for families and schools to explore.

Citizen-Science Project Creating an Eclipse Megamovie

Students and teachers are invited to join the Eclipse Megamovie Project in a first-of-its-kind citizen-science project, gathering scientifically valuable data from the total solar eclipse that will traverse North America on August 21. The Eclipse Megamovie Project, by University of California Berkeley and Google, will gather images of the 2017 total solar eclipse from more than 1,000 volunteer photographers and amateur astronomers, as well as many more members of the general public, and will then stitch these media assets together to create an expanded and continuous view of the total eclipse as it crosses the United States. Will you be under the path of totality for the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse? If so, you can participate in the project! Sign in on the project’s website to enter your planned eclipse viewing location and your planned camera setup. The website also presents safety information, a free simulator of the 2017 eclipse and free eclipse resources (activities for educators, and links to websites and online guides).

Tactile Guide with Activities for Students Who Are Visually Impaired

University of Charleston geology professor Cassandra Runyon has helped NASA launch a new educational project designed to assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired learn about the major solar eclipse that will take place on August 21. Runyon and Edinboro University Professor David Hurd have written a braille book, called Getting a Feel for Eclipses, which features graphics that teach users about the interaction and alignment of the Sun with the Moon and Earth. Along with the guide, associated activities clarify the nature of solar eclipses. More than 5,000 free copies of the book are being distributed to schools, libraries, museums, and science centers that serve the blind and visually impaired.

Science Educational Technology Environmental Education 21st Century Themes Blindness/Visual Impairment Special Needs

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