Anticipating the 2017 Solar Eclipse: Activities & Lessons for Middle School

On August 21, 2017, Oregon will be the first to see the total eclipse of the Sun. This much anticipated solar eclipse will be visible across much of the United States. I first learned of this rare occurrence a year ago and quickly made plans to be sure we would be in the path.

Solar Eclipse 2017We purchased tickets to attend OMSI’s Eclipse Party at the Salem Fairgrounds and attempted to make hotel reservations in the area to no avail. We have thereby fallen back on a backup plan – staying with family in Eugene and driving up. I fear, however, that the road will be so congested we won’t reach our destination.

Anticipating the 2017 solar eclipse, I am delighted to share with you a number of lessons and activities with which you can engage your middle school students.

About the Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves right in front of the sun, covering it completely for a very short time. It darkens the whole sky, lets you look right at the sun, and shows you the beautiful corona that surrounds the sun. Stars come out, the horizon glows with a 360-degree sunset, the temperature drops, and day turns into night.

Only look at the sun when it is 100% covered. You must use special solar viewing glasses whenever the sun isn’t completely eclipsed or it may cause irreparable eye damage.

The umbra (fully shaded inner region of a shadow) will hit the shores of Oregon at 10:15:53 am PDT near the small town of Otter Rock. From the time the shadow first touches land, it will take only two minutes for the shadow to race eastward. As the eclipse passes over the state, cities will experience various lengths of totality based on their varying distances from the centerline. At the Oregon State Fairgrounds, we will be treated to one minute and 53 seconds of shadow at just after 10:17am.

The eclipse will continue across the United States where Illinois will experience the longest eclipse duration at two minutes and 41 seconds. South Carolina will be the last state to witness the eclipse and the final shadow will be over the Atlantic Ocean near the west coast of Africa. See a map of the full eclipse path.

Solar Eclipse

Three Types of Eclipses

Solar eclipses occur during the new moon phase when the Moon moves between the Earth and the Sun and the three celestial bodies form a straight line, Earth-Moon-Sun. There are three kinds of solar eclipses, Annular, Partial, and Total. On even more rare occasions, a hybrid eclipse occurs when there is a combination of two.

Annular Eclipse

An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon covers the Sun’s center, yet the moon’s shadow doesn’t quite reach the Earth. The Sun’s visible outer edges thus form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the Moon. The ring of fire marks the maximum stage of an annular solar eclipse.

We have been fortunate to observe an eclipse in the past. In 2012, we enjoyed an annular eclipse near Red Bluff, California.

Partial Eclipse

A partial eclipse, which are visible to a greater number of people due to its wider path, occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth, but they don’t align in a perfectly straight line and thus the Moon only partially covers the Sun’s disc. A Partial Eclipse can be seen on either side of the path of totality where the moon doesn’t completely cover the sun.

Total Eclipse

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon comes between the Sun and Earth and completely covers the face of the sun, letting the sun’s magnificent corona burst into view, and casts the darkest part of the shadow (the Umbra) on Earth. In this shadow, the Earth is almost as dark as night.

Check out the 2017 Solar Eclipse explainer video we created with mysimpleshow.

Hybrid Eclipse

A hybrid solar eclipse occurs when the eclipse changes from an annular eclipse to a total eclipse along the path of the moon as it rotates about the Earth.

Solar Eclipse 2017Bring it Home – Solar Eclipse Resources

◉ NASA’s Eclipse 2017 guide and information by NOAA Portland 2017 Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse for Beginners: General information on the science of a solar eclipse

◉ NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio Eclipse Gallery: Scientifically accurate visualizations of solar eclipses including position of the Earth, Moon, and Sun, and path of the Moon’s shadow from different perspectives.

Shadow and Substance: A simulation for Oregon showing where totality and partial phases can be viewed.

NASA Eclipse Simulation: Students discover relative relationships between the Sun, Earth, and Moon, and how the Moon can eclipse the Sun.

NASA Wavelength: A full spectrum of NASA resources for Earth and space science education.

Explore the Earth’s geometrical relation to the sun by calculating where the sun will be in the sky for any date or time given a particular location on Earth.

Eclipse in a Different Light: A Sun-Earth Day page for educators presented by NASA.

◉ In 1715, Edmond Halley published a map predicting the time and path of a coming solar eclipse.

◉ If you are a Scout, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to earn the BSA 2017 Solar Eclipse patch.

  • Cub Scouts: Discuss what a solar eclipse is with your leaders.
  • Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts: Draw a diagram of the positions of the moon, earth, and sun to show how the solar eclipse occurs.
  • Venturers: Research Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington’s 1919 experiment and discuss how it confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Finishing Strong #128: Wildlife Biology

Welcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

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Wildlife Biology

Wildlife Biologists are scientists that observe and study the behaviors of animals. To do so, they use a variety of observational tools including binoculars, spotting scopes, wildlife blinds, and night vision goggles. Youth interested in learning more about animals and the study of wildlife can learn a great deal from the comfort of their home via a webcam.

animalbehavior

In the post, Wildlife Biology for Middle School: Develop Skills with Animal Cams, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite animal cams from around the world. I have also put together a few printables to help students develop a more in-depth wildlife biology study.

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Finishing Strong

We hope you’ll take some time to check out the amazing posts that have been shared with us. We are so thankful to all of our readers and contributors who help make Finishing Strong a key resource for everyone homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

How to Know What Your Teen Needs to Get into College

from Annie & Everything ~ A great reminder that how you choose to homeschool high school is entirely up to you. “Once you understand that requirements vary by college, then you begin to realize that there is no one right way to do high school at home.  You discover how flexible a high school curriculum can be — and then the task becomes a whole lot easier.”

Why Year Round Homeschooling Works

from Bright Ideas Press ~ Year round homeschooling has been the best choice for us. We tried to take a summer off a year ago, however we continue to struggle to reestablish routines and motivation now that we have resumed.

Fun with Geography ~ Free Printables

from Starts at Eight ~ Geography has always been one of our favorite subjects. You’ll love the free geography printables bundle that Heidi has put together.

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

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Finishing Strong #127: Syttende Mai

Welcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

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Syttende Mai

Norwegian Constitution Day is the National Day of Norway and is an official holiday observed on the 17th of May each year. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as Syttende Mai.

Syttende Mai is also celebrated in many Norwegian immigrant communities throughout the world, with traditional foods but simple hot dogs are equally popular. Learn more about our ancestral heritage and enjoy a sweet recipe for Fastelavnsboller or ligonberry cream filled pastries.

Syttende mai constitution day

Finishing Strong

We hope you’ll take some time to check out the amazing posts that have been shared with us. We are so thankful to all of our readers and contributors who help make Finishing Strong a key resource for everyone homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

What We’ve Used and Loved Curriculum Series – History

from Centered at Home – The third in a series of posts showcasing the curriculum most enjoyed by their family over the years.

10 Ways to Take Your Learning Outside

from Bright Ideas Press – Betsy shares many great options for getting work done in the great outdoors.

8 Reasons Why I HATE Standardized Tests

from There’s No Place Like Home – “Instead of spending our year teaching to the test, we actually get to pursue things that really matter.”

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Finishing Strong #126: Service Learning & Speech Resources

Welcome to Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong is a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

Finishing-Strong-500x500Benefits of Service Learning

Service learning projects combine learning goals and community service in ways that can enhance both student growth and the common good. Service learning can help your students become better learners, classmates, and citizens, and can help them make a valuable contribution to their communities.

My children and I began volunteering together in the spring of 2006 when my daughter was 3 ½ years old and my son was 15 months.  We volunteered as Living History Interpreters – take a peak at their 1880s historical costumes.

Service LearningFinishing Strong

We hope you’ll take some time to check out the amazing posts that have been shared with us. We are so thankful to all of our readers and contributors who help make Finishing Strong a key resource for everyone homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

Homeschooling Middle School Blogs

Blogs to Read If You Are Homeschooling Middle School 

from Starts at Eight – A fabulous list of homeschooling blogs specifically focused on the middle school or tween years.

50 Ideas for Volunteering as a Homeschool Family

from BookShark – Volunteering is a key part of our family’s mission. There are so many possibilities, sometimes it is hard to know where to begin. “Start by finding your family’s main interest; then seek out service opportunities to complement those strengths.”

Building Up Our Teens: Resources for Speech & Debate

from BJ’s Homeschool – Leadership skills begin when teens are in high school. Betsy provides a peak into their homeschooling years and suggests ideas for teaching speech and debate.

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Finishing Strong #125: Integrated Studies and Developing a Good Work Ethic

Welcome to Finishing Strong 

Finishing Strong is a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

Finishing-Strong-500x500Curriculum Choices Over the Years

For the past few weeks, curriculum posts for different grade levels have been very popular with our Finishing Strong readers. Featured this week is a compilation post I put together to share the curriculum we have used each school year. Our Curriculum Choices Over the Years spans our homeschool journey beginning with preschool through our present high school years.

curriculumchoiceshighschool

We hope you’ll take some time to check out the amazing posts that have been shared with us. We are so thankful to all of our readers and contributors who help make Finishing Strong a key resource for everyone homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

“altHow to Build Knowledge in ANY Subject and WHY It’s Important

from Freely Learned – Using WW2 as an example, the author shares how to build a comprehensive unit study. “Lately, I’ve become much more knowledgeable about World War II without intending to study the topic at all.” This is exactly what I have been experiencing.

Working on the Weekend: Teaching Kids the Importance of a Good Work Ethic

from Our Unschooling Journey Through Life – As we begin to implement a course on personal finance, developing a strong work ethic and learning the skills of budgeting and saving have been a major focus of our homeschool.

Enhance Your Science Studies with Integrated Learning

from Bright Ideas Press – Another great overview of how to integrate other subject areas into an engaging unit study. “Integrating learning not only makes learning more interesting, it also simplifies life for me as a teacher.”

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years


Finishing Strong #124: Resources for Homeschooling Teens

Welcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

Featured this week is a Science Milestones post highlighting the impact Mary Anning had on the field of paleontology in its early days as a scientific discipline. As a woman, she wasn’t given the credit she was due until recent years. Read The Heroine of Lyme Regis to learn more about her.

finishing strong 124

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

1. 6 Steps to Fit in All the Subjects for Homeschooling Each Day

A peak into how one homeschool family covers history, geography, reading, spelling, math, science, Bible, penmanship, grammar, and electives all in one day of homeschooling. Can it really be done?

2. The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Unschooling High School Transcript

I absolutely LOVE Joan’s post and found so much valuable information in it that I felt compelled to share her post with you. She walks you through transcript-ese, what to include and even what is not necessary (SAT scores), and detailed examples of how to translate life experiences and studies to course descriptions and credits. This is a must read post for anyone homeschooling high school! 

You might also be interested in learning about the process of High School Forecasting – tips on coordinating extracurricular schedules, CLEP exams, and coursework.

3. How to Teach Literary Genres with a Library Scavenger Hunt 

While we visit our local library regularly, Stacey’s post made me realize that I’ve always directed our activities with my daughter in mind. We’d covered genres and library skills years ago and I thereby presumed my youngest is familiar. However, her post has inspired me to take a little more time on our next visit to ensure my youngest has the research skills and knowledge he’ll need as an independent learner.

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Were You Featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years