Media Monday: Don’t be afraid of the dark! A solar eclipse roundup

I hope that for this particular Media Monday, educators, parents, and students will consider sharing their eclipse plans, photos, and experiences with us via social media so that we can learn from each other. If New York folks could share via Alt Ed NYC’s Facebook page and Austin folks could share via Alt Ed Austin’s Facebook page, we might end up with some wonderful alternative stories and some tips for the next eclipse!

PBS has put together a clear, easy-to-digest set of materials designed for educators but equally helpful for parents who are looking for activities, basic information, and videos. The site links out to many NASA materials too.

Speaking of NASA: Really, where else would you start your search for all things eclipsical? Comprehensive and authoritative, NASA has created a guide that’s great for those who don’t live near the path of totality, because they are offering so many terrific online options for learning. Kids can see a 3D simulation before the eclipse and then watch NASA’s  livestream on Monday. The site links to several exciting Citizen Science opportunities.

My favorite option for kids (well, and for me!) is probably Science Friday’s Spotlight: The Great American Eclipse. The Spotlight guide is printable, perfectly illustrated, and includes lots of links out to additional great resources.

KQED’s Science team has also put together a terrific set of explainers, and I love Anna Kusmer’s discussion of the citizen science angle of the event. For example, kids can help gather data for the California Academy of Sciences, Life Responds project, which looks at effects of the eclipse on animals and plants. If you have a student who is into this topic, take a look at a news story from a few years ago about how insects, squirrels, and other animals respond to eclipses.

Scientific American’s comprehensive coverage is superb, and best suited to teens and educators. The magazine’s interactive graphic is one that you can geek out over for a long time.

For older grade school kids through high school, National Geographic’s coverage is great fun, and their map is accessible and elegant. Among their offerings are photos taken over a hundred years of eclipse-watching and a great new article on animal reactions to eclipses.

More into the cultural and historical side of things? Take a look at Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings posts about astronomer Maria Mitchell’s thoughts on how to watch an eclipse and her account of the 1869 eclipse, Mabel Loomis Todd’s 19th-century guide to eclipses, and writer Annie Dillard’s essay on how strange and magical an eclipse is. The Atlantic reprinted the full Dillard essay last week. Round it all off with a New York Times story about the big impact of the 1919 Eclipse on the world of science.

To end Eclipse Day 2017: Gather around and watch PBS NOVA’s documentary, Eclipse Over America.

In Austin: Peak eclipse time: 1:10 PM (partial)
Taylor Goldenstein of the Austin American-Statesman has put together a very helpful list of eclipse events in Central Texas. It looks like the Round Rock Public Library is among the best options for viewing and learning fun.

In New York City: Peak eclipse time: 2:44 PM (partial)
The Hayden Planetarium is hosting an all-afternoon event that is sure to be fabulous. And many NYC libraries and museums are participating. Amy Plitt of Curbed.com put together a viewing guide that’s helpful.

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