Check out how Cobb schools are using solar eclipse as teaching moment

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This is the first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. from coast to coast in 99 years. It starts at 1:15 PM EDT in Oregon and ends in South Carolina at 2:45 EDT. It happens on Monday, Aug. 21. It will be visible to anyone within 200 miles of its path. Looking straight at the sun can blind you. Use safety glasses.

Teachers can't waste time in the classroom. So with a rare total solar eclipse coming up Aug. 21, the Cobb County school system has announced how it plans to turn a possibly dangerous situation into a teaching moment.

They'll have 45 extra minutes to do because the district decided to extend the school day so students weren't released at the eclipse's peak. Many other metro Atlanta school systems delayed dismissal times.

They dubbed it a safety issue, as scientists have warned that looking at a solar eclipse can burn a crescent shape into the back of your eye.

Cobb schools said the eclipse "will provide an opportunity for students to experience phenomena such as lighting, shadows, temperature and wind changes, and even animal behavior."

Here’s what they have planned:

Kindergarten and elementary school

  • Kindergarten: Students will communicate about the sun and moon and discuss patterns relating to daytime and nighttime.
  • First grade: Students will explore the concept of light using shadow puppets. They'll also create pinhole cameras.
  • Second grade: Students will learn about the patterns of the sun and moon.
  • Third grade: Students will investigate energy from the way and how it is measured.
  • Fourth grade: Students will learn about the motion of the moon and Earth and how those relate to the sun.
  • Fifth grade: Students should expect similar lessons but they will "also have the opportunity view animal behavior during this event," the district said, without further explanation.

Middle school

  • Sixth grade: Students will study the positions of the Earth, sun and moon.
  • Seventh grade: Students will explore how light works in coordination with other body systems to give humans vision.
  • Eighth grade: Students will learn about light waves and lenses.

High school

  • Biology students will identify patterns, processes, and relationships of living organisms in regards to light.
  • Chemistry students will learn about the atoms, structure and properties of matter along with the conservation and interaction of energy and matter. Some students might study the composition of the sun.
  • Physics students will delve into topics like nuclear decay processes and interactions of matter along with motion and energy. Some students will learn about the characteristics of electromagnetic waves during the eclipse.
  • Earth systems students will talk about the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere and how they interact with the Earth.
  • Environmental science students will study how the eclipse affects different components of the local environment.

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