Edtech companies offer ways for students to engage with upcoming solar eclipse


As anticipation builds for the sighting of the Great American Eclipse later this month, Discovery Education is getting involved.

The K-12 digital learning company will offer free educational resources to students and teachers, aiming to encourage schools and classrooms to incorporate the solar eclipse in their instruction.

The digital resources available include lesson plans, maps, photos and videos intended to spark an interest and a sense of curiosity in students about the science behind this phenomenon. The hope is that they will seize the opportunity to learn more about the eclipse and, in the process, enhance the experience of observing it.

On Aug. 21, the day the eclipse will cross much of the United States, Discovery Education will make a number of other resources available.

It will host a two-hour live Twitter chat with Jeffrey Hall, an astronomer and director of Lowell Observatory in Arizona. Hall will participate in a Q&A with students nationwide and will delve into the science of eclipses, solar and otherwise.

Discovery Education will also livestream part of the eclipse from Madras, Oregon, whose residents are expected to have one of the best views in the country.

“While an event such as the Great American Eclipse comes but once a generation, it has the potential to be a learning experience for students that can last a lifetime,” said Marty Creel, Discovery Education’s chief academic officer and vice president of digital instruction, in an official statement.

Discovery Education isn’t the only edtech company capitalizing on the eclipse. Legends of Learning, a startup that develops curriculum-based science games for students, has removed the costs associated with two of its popular eclipse-related games.

Legends of Learning is also helping send students from a George school district to South Carolina, where they can view the total eclipse in person.

With the education technology community involved now, teachers are excited to spend the first few weeks of the new school year learning about this scientific phenomenon.

“An event the size and scope of the Great American Eclipse is a great ‘teachable moment’ that can be used to engage students in a variety of topics,” said Peter Panico, a 5th grade teacher in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.