STEAM and the Solar Eclipse

Published by August 11, 2017

Are you ready for the total solar eclipse? It’s less than two weeks, August 21st! We’ve got the viewers, books, solar system models and other things for your lesson-or just plain old hands on experience. Let’s go!

Eclipse Viewers

We’ve got two great ways to observe the eclipse directly, a welder style viewer, and glasses.  The maker, Rainbow Symphony is listed with American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers.  I’m thinking about grabbing a pair for myself when I’m in the store next. We have the viewer for $1.99 and glasses for $2.49. Don’t wait too long!

What else can you do with them, anyway? Observe the sun directly. Are there a lot of sunspots today? Use them and find out! Or maybe just use that extremely deep tint to take a nap on the bus…

STEAM and the Solar Eclipse

How will you integrate STEAM with this rare opportunity? Some ideas are below! As always, feel free to chime in here or on Facebook, we love talking about education!


This is a spectacular tie-in to teaching about space! We’ve got some books on the subject, a well as a really great kit featuring no less than The Magic School Bus! Another idea, grab any solar cell powered items you might have and see how they react during the eclipse. We’ve got some neat solar cell projects stocked in the stores also, like a solar robot kit.


How about creating a video or a demonisation of how the eclipse works? Perhaps getting everyone collaborating on a blog or web page would be better? Use your choice of format or platform to document, organize and then share your findings and feelings.


Here’s a prompt for you. “With the exception of a camera, use materials available (38-the last full eclipse in the US, 50, 100 years ago) to build a way to safely photograph the eclipse.” Feel free to sub out “common household items” instead! Document the process, then do it! This also feeds nicely into the math and sections, by the way.


What did you see during the eclipse? Now, how did it make you feel? Not only is the visual arts a way to talk and express, but don’t forget writing and maybe even dance!


First of all, capture photos, or better yet, video of the eclipse (feel free to use a live stream instead). Then, use the data to make a graph or chart. A more advanced idea-estimate, then calculate the percentage viewable in your area. (Looks like according to NASA’s maps, Arizona will be in the 50%-70% zone. See the maps here!)

See you next time! You can always find us online or at our stores.

after taxo
There are not many places left that you can get personalized service from someone that knows what they are talking about in a retail environment. Love that I can always go in here and figure our ways to help my family get better at learning. It's fun too!