ARK Kings Students Experience the Solar Eclipse

ARK Kings Academy students using home made pinhole cameras to observe the partial solar eclipse in March 2015. The photo is framed with photos of the eclipse taken through a colour filter.

On Friday (20th March), students and staff took time out of the regular school day to learn about and experience the partial solar eclipse.

The day began in form time, with students learning about how the partial eclipse came about -the orbit of the moon resulting in it blocking light from the sun, causing a shadow to fall over us on earth.

At 0915, when the sky had started to darken as the moon passed over the sun, students were led out of their classes and onto the playing field. There, members of the science department had set up a range of ingenious equipment to allow students and staff to safely observe the eclipse.

Students and staff had two ways of safely viewing the eclipse. One option was to make a simple pinhole camera out of two pieces of white paper. After  piercing one piece of paper with a drawing, students and staff faced away from the sun and placed the paper over their shoulder, letting a tiny stream of light pass through onto the second  piece of paper. With careful adjustment of the 'projector screen' (moving the paper closer or further away). we were able to view a small upside down or mirror image of the eclipse, showing the sun gradually going into shadow as a result of the moon.

Our ever-resourceful science department also provided a slightly more high tech way of viewing the eclipse directly. Staff and students took turns to look at the eclipse through special sheets of coloured plastic. The sheets filtered out harmful rays and allowed people to look directly at the sun. Science Technician Mr Lawson was even able to use the filters to take the impressive photos of the eclipse featured on our website.

It has been fantastic to see so many students (and staff!) excited and engaged about science. In 2014, 81% of students achieved A*-C in Science. We will build on the enthusiasm for science generated by the eclipse to support all of our students develop their scientific understanding.