Written by Richelle Ayers, global social media manager and content co-director for HUE.
As educators, we have the incredible opportunity to inspire and educate our students about the wonders of the universe. One such wonder is the upcoming solar eclipse. This awe-inspiring natural phenomenon gives us a ‘stellar’ – excuse the pun – opportunity to bring science into the classroom in a truly exciting way.
On Saturday October 14, 2023, the Moon will move exactly in front of the Sun from the point of view of observers along a narrow strip of land stretching across the United States from Oregon to Texas and continuing on to Central and South America.
Since the Moon will be at the furthest point in its orbit from Earth at that time (known as apogee), it won’t completely block the sun; instead, a dramatic ‘ring of fire’ effect will be seen as the bright edge of the Sun will be visible around the black silhouette of the Moon. The distinctive appearance of this style of eclipse is why it’s called an annular eclipse, as ‘annular’ means ‘ring-like’.
What has the eclipse got to do with HUE Animation?
HUE prides itself on providing teachers with fantastic resources to bring subjects to life and HUE Animation Studio is an essential partner in STEAM activities in your school. The eclipse is ideally suited to stop motion animation and a great, fun way for kids to learn about it. Here’s how!
- Make an eclipse animation. Everyone will have the opportunity to recreate this fantastic once-in-a-lifetime event with your very own solar eclipse animation! We have created some wonderful new resources to help animate and teach the eclipse this year, available on TPT.
- Capture a time-lapse. If you’re lucky enough to live in the path of an annular eclipse you will be able to record the total eclipse for yourself using the time-lapse feature in HUE Animation. A partial eclipse will be visible in many more areas and is equally worth recording.
Tips for preparing your students
- Begin by explaining the basics of solar eclipses. Describe how they occur when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, casting a shadow on our planet. Use visual aids, diagrams, and simple language to make the concept accessible to students of all ages.
- Emphasize the importance of safe viewing practices. Inform your students about the dangers of looking directly at the sun and provide guidelines on using proper eclipse glasses or pinhole projectors.
- If possible, organize a safe eclipse-watching event at your school. Set up telescopes with solar filters or distribute eclipse glasses to students and staff. This hands-on experience will leave a lasting impression on your students and make the event a day they will never forget.
- After the eclipse, encourage your students to reflect on their experiences. Have them write essays, create presentations, or share their thoughts in class discussions. This reflection can deepen their understanding of the event.
- Throughout the eclipse preparations and observations, encourage your students to ask questions. Curiosity is the key to learning, and eclipses provide a unique opportunity to nurture it.
The upcoming solar eclipse on October 14th 2023 is a momentous event that can enrich your classroom experience and inspire a lifelong love for science and astronomy. By engaging your students with the wonders of the cosmos, you’re not only teaching them about the natural world but also fostering curiosity, critical thinking, and a sense of wonder that will benefit them far beyond the classroom.
So, mark your calendars, prepare your lessons, and get ready to watch the skies with your eager young learners! HUE will be recording and live streaming (if weather permits) from Texas on social media @HUEcameras so make sure you stay tuned for updates.
We have created an example of the kind of eclipse animation you could make:
Or take a look at this animation created in the STEM: HUE Animation Program at the Butler Public Library in New Jersey:
Richelle Ayers is the global social media manager and content co-director for HUE. She graduated from St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX, with a BA in Child Psychology. A former CPS investigator for the State of Texas, she transitioned her skills into classroom teaching working with students in special education, inclusion and general education settings from kindergarten through 7th grade classrooms, and is experienced in team leadership, mentoring and presenting on topics including PBL and STEM.