Total Solar Eclipse Teachers’ Toolkit

Tips and tools for teaching and viewing the eclipse safely on Aug. 21


July 25, 2017

BATON ROUGE – On August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible across North America, passing through the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s shadow passes over the Earth’s surface, temporarily blocking the view of the Sun from the Earth. The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in the continental U.S. was 1979. This year, on Aug. 21, the eclipse will pass over the country again, with an 80% partial eclipse visible in Louisiana. With a grant from the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium (LaSPACE), Dr. Dana Browne, Professor and Associate Chair of the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, led a small team of K-12 teachers to develop a website toolkit for educators to teach students about the solar eclipse.

In Louisiana, the eclipse will block out about 80 percent of the sun’s light. Because the eclipse will be in optimal viewing position in the afternoon while most children will be at school, Browne’s website has curricular materials and simple instructions for teachers to leverage this rare astronomic occurrence into an exciting and safe lesson for students.

“The eclipse gives students in Louisiana a unique educational opportunity to observe a natural astronomical phenomenon that both terrified and fascinated the ancient world, and helped develop the science of astronomy,” Browne said.

On the website, teachers can find historical and contemporary information about eclipses, and lesson plans for science and math classes from pre-kindergarten to high school. Browne has also included instructions for building simple solar eclipse viewers out of cardboard boxes, paper, and aluminum foil for safely viewing the eclipse. He emphasizes that even though the moon will be blocking most of the sun during the eclipse, it is still not safe to look directly at the sun.

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Additional Link:
Louisiana Teaches the Eclipse website:



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Beth Carter

LSU Media Relations


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