Have you ever looked up at the sky and seen the sun disappear behind the clouds? Something similar happens during a solar eclipse. Solar eclipse is like a big shadow casting over the sun, making everything go dark for a bit. It may sound scary but it actually is really cool. In this blog, let us discuss solar eclipses – why they happen, and what gives them a special place in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, casting its shadow on the earth’s surface and temporarily blocking out the sun’s light. Since the sun gets partially or completely covered during a solar eclipse, it causes temporary darkness during the day.

STEM Connection:

STEM concepts ignite curiosity and learning opportunities for budding young scientists during a solar eclipse:

Science: A solar eclipse is a perfect opportunity to explore concepts of astronomical science, and the interactions between the sun, moon, and earth. Kids can dive into the different types of solar eclipses – total, partial, and annular eclipses and understand the scientific principles behind each. At K-Rockets after school programs, students work on hands-on projects that describe the geometry of eclipses, the lunar orbit, and the solar ring during an eclipse.

Technology: In today’s digital age, technology plays an important role in observing and documenting solar eclipses. Children learn to use advanced telescopes, solar filters, and imaging devices, typically used by scientists and astronomers to study eclipses. Special cameras are used to safely capture images of these rare events. Kids can explore the technology behind solar observation equipment and learn how advancements in technology have revolutionized our understanding of the universe.

Engineering: Engineers play a vital role in designing and building equipment for solar eclipse observation, including solar viewers, telescopes, and solar filters. Last week during K-Rockets STEM program, kids immersed themselves in engineering principles such as optics, materials science, and structural design while creating their own DIY solar eclipse viewers. Students also built models to simulate a solar eclipse. Students experimented with different designs and materials to understand the engineering behind eclipse viewing devices and explore innovative solutions to real-world challenges.

Mathematics: Mathematics provides the foundation for predicting and calculating the precise timing, duration, and path of solar eclipses. Some engaging math programs and activities for children are to calculate eclipse durations, plot eclipse paths on maps, and analyze data to understand the math relationships governing earth’s motion. Older kids can explore geometric concepts, trigonometry, and algebra while unraveling the mysteries of solar eclipses.

What are you waiting for? Go grab your solar viewers, telescope, and curiosity, and get ready to witness the magic of a solar eclipse—a STEM adventure like no other!

Remember to stay safe while observing solar eclipses and follow proper eye protection guidelines to safeguard your vision. Happy exploring!