Shields Up! Preparing for The Total Solar Eclipse 

Shields Up! Preparing for The Total Solar Eclipse: Teaching Activities, Resources, and Safety

Are you and your students ready for the total solar eclipse coming on Monday, April 8th, 2024? If not, you will want to come by and check out all the amazing resources and tips for how to best prepare your students. Get instructions on building pinhole camera viewer, avoiding false eclipse glasses on Amazon, app recommendations, and more.

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Apps and Maps

The total solar eclipse is rare in North America and won’t be viewable again until 2044

Why not take advantage of cosmic phenomena to teach science? 

Total solar eclipse: Monday, April 8, 2024 

The Totality app, available for Android and iOS, offers a variety of instructions on how to use it. The app was donated to the American Astronomical Society. It provides great information on the path of the eclipse. 

The strength of this app, aside from finding an eclipse from your location, is all the helpful information. In the app’s “Learn About” section, there is information on topics such as:

For example, in the Classroom Activities section, you’ll find links to the Pinhole Camera Activity for safe viewing of the eclipse and dynamic art and photography activities. Know of other great mobile apps? Share them in the comments!


Solar Viewing Glasses

You can also buy solar eclipse glasses, but make sure that the vendor of solar eclipse glasses appears on the approved vendors list. Safe eclipse glasses may feature a notice. The notice is that glasses conform to ISO 12312-2 Filters for Direct Observation of the Sun. Others may appear to be “NASA certified.” Unfortunately, that does not mean they have been tested or certified as safe. NASA and ISO do NOT certify eclipse glasses. 

If finding safe glasses is uncertain, consider going straight to the source. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has a list of safe solar filters and viewers. Start there for solar eclipse glasses. 

Making a Pinhole Projector

What exactly are the dire effects of viewing a solar eclipse without the right eyewear protection? Those effects include blurred vision, light sensitivity, blind spots, red, sore, gritty, watery eyes or eye soreness (source). Also, shapes will be hard to recognize. You may experience headaches or swelling around eye or eyelid. Avoid these consequences of viewing eclipse without protection. 

Relying on a pinhole viewer doesn’t involve you (or your students) looking directly at the Sun. You can do so ONLY IF you have approved solar eclipse glasses

Follow these step-by-step instructions (or these) if you prefer text to video. 

Classroom Activities