A view is from space, looking past Earth toward the sun being eclipsed by the moon

A day of school vs. an experience to remember 🌙😎

Think back to your school days. What do you remember learning?

Not the subjects or topics you know you learned, but what learning activities do you actually remember?

My memories don’t include most of my time in classes. I remember the fact of taking courses, but would be hard-pressed to tell you what I learned in most of them! I know enough math for my needs, and I know how to write, and I know how to think, but I remember little of the classroom experiences where I learned these things.

What I do remember are the experiences. Things like racing the wind-powered car I made for physics class. Recording (on VHS tape!) the Odyssey-inspired movie for social studies with my friend Amy. The speech class final exam we wrote on index cards before performing. And crowding outside in … 1994?… to see the partial solar eclipse, for which we’d prepared pinhole viewers but were also thrilled to see projected through the shadows of a nearby tree.

This is unsurprising. Our brains crave meaning and relevance. We can learn things for their own sake, but we learn and remember far better when the learning is meaningful. (To be clear, this isn’t an argument against learning skills like math or reading; it’s an argument for embedding them in relevance and meaning to make them stickier.)

A total solar eclipse is an experiential peak moment as well as an educational one. We live about a 6-hour drive from this Monday’s path of totality. So we had a choice: our kids could attend school, or we could trek them across the state for the chance (weather-permitting!) to see a total solar eclipse.

It wasn’t much of a choice, really.

They’re making pinhole viewers. I’ve been designing and 3D printing solar filter holders for our phones, binoculars, and telescope. (We bought the glasses, of course. Gotta get the glasses.) I’ve been teaching them how eclipses work, why NOT to view them without protection, and what to expect when the sun goes dark.

And if all goes well on Monday, the sky will darken, the sun will disappear, and for three glorious minutes we’ll all see something we’ll remember forever.





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