The Eclipse

  • What are we learning about the eclipse in the classroom?

    Students are learning about the importance of science's role during the eclipse!  This is an incredible opportunity to engage all ages in citizen science on the day of the eclipse.  Students will gather cloud, temperature, pressure, light data, as well as other direct and indirect observations.

    Maclay's WeatherSTEM unit will be an invaluable tool for students to use after the eclipse.  The weather station has a Clould Camera and many sensors gathering data during the eclipse.  This data collected will be available Tuesday for all grade levels to use, evaluate, graph, and make sense of.  It will be a great educational tool.  Check it out at Maclay's WeatherSTEM site.

    6th Grade science classes are focusing on understanding the Science behind the eclipse! Students are making scale models of the Sun, Earth, and Moon to understand their interactions during the eclipse.We are modeling the shadow of the moon hitting the Earth. Solar Science, including Astronomy, Coronal Science, and Heliophysics, are being discussed.  Understanding the important interactions of space weather, solar flares, and solar wind on our Earth is a goal of scientists all across the United States on Monday. 

    We are also learning about the ground based telescopes that will observe the eclipse.  Some of the state-of-the-art mirrors being used are over 13 feet!  This is an incredible opportunity to gather scientific data about our sun!

    The students are also learning about the weather balloons that will be released every 15 minutes across the USA.  These balloons are equipped with a Raspberry Pi camera, which will provide a live feed of the event.  Once the eclipse is over, the videos will be stitched together to provide a megamovie of the entire event!  This is incredible cutting edge technology.

    The weather balloons in the Heliophysics experiments will also gather data for Astrobiology.  They will record temperature change, pressure change, and changes in light throughout the event.  The balloons also will have live bacteria on their surface.  High altitude conditions during the eclipse will mimic Mars' atmosphere.  The observations and data gathered Monday during the eclipse will help scientists better understand how humans will live on Mars.

    In addition, we will be studying the surface of the Moon to help learn about the surface of the Sun.  The irregular polygon shaped shadow that will be seen during the eclipse is due to the Moon and its surface.  Check it out the Moon on Google Earth!  The moon will produce the Baily's Beads which are points of light that begin to appear as sunlight streams through the valley's of the moon's horizon.

    Students learned that there will be 11 spacecraft in the air during the eclipse across the US.  The National Center for Atmospheric Research will fly a jet along the path of the eclipse gathering infrared data. There will be thousands of ground telescopes in action!   We look forward to being a part of this important event.  It provides an opportunity for students to get excited about Science.  Our Maclay students are curious and ready for Monday's event!  The Maclay Science Department hopes to generate engaged citizen science fans with the opportunity of this viewing event! 

    Students are excited, as they know this event only happens in the same spot on the Earth every 375 years!  Get your hands on one of the USPS special edition stamps celebrating the eclipse! 

    6th grade World Geography is looking at effects of solar eclipses on ancient cultures. Middle School Latin is looking at how Ancient Latin text interpreted eclipses. Middle school expressions classes are learning what ancient civilizations thought caused eclipses. They are also working on a Stonehenge project.

    The science classes are discussing the science behind eclipses. We are learning what causes eclipses and why we can accurately predict their appearance. Life Science is also looking at the impact of eclipses on biological life, especially insects and mammals. 


    On August 21, 2017, Maclay School will be in the path of a partial solar eclipse. This event is known as “The Great American Solar Eclipse” because it is the first time since 1918 that a solar eclipse will be visible across the entire continental United States. Here on campus, roughly 87% of the sun will be covered.

    The Science Team in all divisions are preparing unique curriculum for our students so that we can take advantage of the educational experience.  We are excited to offer our students the opportunity to view the partial solar eclipse using ISO certified viewing glasses that have been purchased by the school.

    As always, student safety is our top concern. Per NASA, looking at the eclipse without special, certified viewing glasses is unsafe. At no time during the eclipse should the student/participant remove their glasses and look directly at the sun. This can lead to permanent eye damage or other unknown effects. Teachers and administrators will stress the importance of using and not removing the certified viewing glasses during the event. We also encourage you to speak with your child about the importance of using the certified viewing glasses during the event.   Should you feel it necessary for your child to not be in attendance August 21st, please contact your divisional office. 

    Due to road safety concerns, Maclay will be delaying the official school release time to 3:30pm. If you must pick-up your child before 3:30, you may do so through the regular front office procedures.

    We thank you for partnering with us in creating a unique educational experience.