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Oklahoma State University

Solar Eclipse Workshop for Teachers

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Teacher WorkshopPublic school teachers from across the state of Oklahoma gathered on August 12 to learn about the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse. The workshop was sponsored by the College of Education’s Center for Research on STEM Teaching and Learning (CRSTL) and led by science education faculty Dr. Toni Ivey and Dr. Stephanie Hathcock, along with Ph.D. graduate and 2017-18 Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow Dr. Rebecca Hammack. 

The upcoming eclipse is the first total solar eclipse in the United States in 99 years.  In Stillwater, the moon will obscure 87 percent of the sun.  At the workshop, teachers learned about the alignment of the Earth, Sun, and Moon; how moon phases and eclipses occur; and how to safely observe the solar eclipse. Teachers created their own pinhole eclipse viewers out of cereal boxes and shoe boxes.

Ivey spearheaded the idea to offer the workshop.

“I knew this was an event that could help get K-12 students excited about science,” she said.

Forty teachers attended the workshop in preparation for teaching their own students about the eclipse.

Hathcock was happy to help teachers learn about the science of eclipses. 

“There has been so much misinformation swirling around the eclipse, and we are so happy to have worked with these teachers to better understand the science behind eclipses, and the easy safety protocols associated with viewing them,” Hathcock said. 

“It was nice to be a part of a workshop that was beneficial for teachers of a wide range of levels. I can’t wait to use (what I learned) to start of the beginning of this school year,” Seth Berman, a fifth grade teacher at Stillwater’s Skyline Elementary, said.

Stillwater will experience a partial eclipse. The partial eclipse will begin around 11:30 am with maximum coverage at 1:06 pm. 

Learn more about the science of the solar eclipse and how to safely view it at NASA’s eclipse website: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/

For more information about CRSTL and upcoming activities, visit crstl.okstate.edu.