5 Things My Kids Learned from the Solar Eclipse

child looking at eclipse through glasses

Natural events such as a solar eclipse can be used as “teachable moments” for children

There’s nothing like a solar eclipse to get people talking. The solar eclipse in 2017 was exciting to say the least, not only for the adults, but for the kids. After all, how often do any of us get to see the wonder of our solar system pass before our very (hopefully shielded) eyes? This particular wondrous event occurred on August 21, 2017. If you were fortunate enough to be in the Path of Totality, the sun would have been completely blocked by the moon. In the midday, you would have been enveloped by darkness, despite knowing that it was daytime.

Here’s what they learned:

5 Lessons from the Solar Eclipse:

    1. Don’t look up – Really: don’t   
    2. Trees serve as pinhole cameras so you don’t have to make your own – This is a very cool fact that I didn’t believe was true until I saw it myself with my own eyes – check out the image below
    3. Science and the wonder of the universe can bring a community together – As my son and I wondered at the actions of the universe that were beyond our control, we did so with virtual strangers; people on the street who at once shared with us a sense of oneness and community that is rarely felt
    4. There are some things in life that defy explanation (the science behind the eclipse: yes; the emotion: no)
    5. A hands-on (eyes-on?) science example is the best teacher – Sure… give the kids the lesson behind how and why the eclipse happens, but letting them experience the science themselves will make an indelible impression on them that no book ever could
Solar Eclipse Tree Leaves Pinhole Camera from Wikimedia - SavvyMom

Image from Wikimedia Commons

The trees serve as pinhole cameras during a solar eclipse. Who knew?? Just one of the many lessons both my kids and I learned during this rare event.

There are times when you just need to stop and smell the roses. Or, depending on your location, stop and experience the sunshine (or lack thereof). The 2017 eclipse was one of them. Rare in its beauty, it’s yet another reminder to enjoy the moment when it happens, as it may never happen again. A great lesson to teach our kids (amongst others), isn’t it?

(Ed. note: The solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 is set to cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The total solar eclipse will begin over the South Pacific Ocean. Weather permitting, the first location in continental North America that will experience totality is Mexico’s Pacific coast at around 11:07 a.m. PDT.)


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