Solar Eclipse in the US: A Fun and Engaging Activity to Encourage Science Literacy in Children

Discovering the wonders of solar eclipses with children

On Monday, April 8, a solar eclipse will be visible in the United States and other parts of the world. The Michigan State University Extension science team aims to increase science literacy by engaging youth in exploring the world and asking questions to discover answers.

One way to introduce children in Kindergarten through fourth grade, including 4-H Cloverbuds, to the concept of an eclipse is through an activity using coins, a paper plate, tape, and a tape measure. By holding a penny and a paper plate, children can explore how a small object can block a larger one. By taping the plate to a wall and having children stand in front of it with one eye covered, they can move a penny closer to their other eye until it completely hides the plate. Children can then predict and test with other coins how distance affects the size needed to block the plate.

The upcoming 2024 solar eclipse can be further explored through an article available on the MSU Extension website. NASA and Ohio 4-H provide educational materials for more resources and activities related to eclipses and engaging youth in science. By encouraging curiosity and hands-on exploration, adults can support youth in building their science literacy and understanding of natural phenomena like solar eclipses.

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