Solar Eclipse 2024: Teaching with the Merge Cube

This unique celestial event not only offers a stunning display of beauty, but also provides an excellent opportunity for educators to discuss fundamental space concepts with students, especially revolution and rotation.

Solar Eclipse 2024: Teaching with the Merge Cube

Solar eclipses have long captured our fascination with the cosmos. On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will take place, enchanting viewers across North America as the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, casting its shadow on our planet.

Eclipses Unveiled

An eclipse is orchestrated by  the Sun, Moon, and Earth. When a solar eclipse happens, the Moon moves exactly between the Earth and the Sun in its orbit, creating a shadow on Earth. In a total solar eclipse, the Moon's shadow covers the Sun entirely, casting areas in its path into a mysterious twilight and unveiling the Sun's corona, its outer atmosphere—a breathtaking display that showcases the intricate beauty of the universe.

Solar Eclipse
A solar eclipse happens when the Moon gets between the Earth and Sun, and the Moon casts a shadow over the Earth. A solar eclipse can only occur during the new moon phase.

Teaching Revolution

For students, grasping the concepts of revolution and rotation can be as challenging as reaching for the stars themselves. Yet, the 2024 eclipse provides an opportune moment to demystify these fundamental astronomical principles. Revolution refers to the motion of one celestial body around another. In the case of Earth, it revolves around the Sun in a nearly circular orbit, completing one full revolution roughly every 365 days, marking a year.

The Rotation of the Earth
The Earth spins on its own axis, the Moon rotates around us, and we rotate around the Sun. It’s a complex system that is responsible for everything from tides, to seasons, to life itself! Learn more about it in this topic card and why these rotations matter!

During a solar eclipse, students can visualize Earth's revolution as they witness the Moon's gradual progression across the face of the Sun. Through engaging activities and discussions, educators can emphasize how Earth's orbit positions it differently relative to the Sun throughout the year, causing variations in the frequency and visibility of solar eclipses. By connecting the dots between the eclipse and Earth's orbit, students gain a deeper appreciation for the cyclical nature of celestial phenomena.

Exploring Rotation

Rotation, on the other hand, refers to the spinning motion of a celestial body around its own axis. Earth rotates on its axis once every 24 hours, giving rise to the cycle of day and night. During a solar eclipse, students can observe how the Moon's shadow appears to sweep across Earth's surface—a tangible demonstration of the effects of Earth's rotation.

Earth Axial Tilt with Moon

Inspiring the Next Generation of Explorers

The 2024 eclipse, as it sweeps its captivating shadow over the Earth, acts as a potent force in igniting curiosity and nurturing a lasting passion for space science in students. By using the eclipse to explore revolution and rotation, educators can inspire a sense of awe in students, encouraging them to dream big and delve into the mysteries of the cosmos.

Exploring the Cosmos with the Merge Cube
Merge EDU is a powerful tool for enhancing space science education by providing a more engaging and interactive way for students to learn about complex concepts.

The Merge Cube opens up a virtual doorway to the universe, turning the classroom into an exciting space for exploration. Using AR, the Merge Cube lets students engage with 3D models of objects like the Sun, Moon, and Earth, planets, and more.

As we witness the 2024 eclipse, let's remember it's not just a rare event in the sky—it's a source of inspiration and opportunity for learning. And don't forget to tag Merge on social if you use a Merge Cube with your students for this year's eclipse!