By Beth Donze, Kids’ Clarion Editor
“I can see the moon!”
“The sun is a smiley face!”
“It looks like a banana!”
These were just a few of the observations offered by moonstruck St. Dominic students as they gathered in their school yard Aug. 21 to watch a rare astronomical dance play out: a solar eclipse.
Donning NASA-approved safety glasses and the hat of their choice, K-7th graders watched the cosmic event during the maximum time of coverage, while St. Dominic’s younger students watched a live stream of the eclipse in the gym.
But far from simply enjoying the view as passive observers, every student actively prepared for the fleeting event. The solar eclipse was incorporated into every grade’s lesson plans for more than a week leading up to the eclipse. The lesson plans, implemented in St. Dominic’s new STEM lab, touched every discipline, including math, language arts, religion and social studies.
For example, seventh graders:
- Researched the effects of a solar eclipse on animals and “created” animals equipped with adaptations that would allow them to remain unaffected by an eclipse.
- Designed a one-acre theme park that incorporated “eclipse huts” for viewing the event.
- Produced a brochure promoting their park containing three different types of sentences: declarative, imperative and interrogative.
- Created a story, containing examples of imagery and personification, about what St. Dominic himself would have seen and studied during a solar eclipse.
- Placed themselves in the world of cavemen experiencing a solar eclipse while out hunting. The seventh graders were challenged to create a method of communication between the cavemen and drawings they might draw on cave walls to document the eclipse.