Smartphone Apps for Solar Eclipse Day!

Dear Parents,

First, I can’t tell you how thankful I am for your willingness to send in Capri Suns for our solar eclipse viewing party! One of my only concerns about the day is thirsty kids sitting out in the hot sun.

If you are still willing to send in Capri Suns, I’ll take them! I’d rather have too many than too few — and anything that we have left over, we’ll use for other team events during the first quarter.

Second, if your child has a Smartphone or a tablet with a data plan, can you think about putting the following two observation apps on their devices in the next week:

NASA’s Globe Observer App: NASA has a neat app that people can use to submit observations about the world around them. They will have a special section for eclipse observations going live later this week. Data submitted is then used by researchers to confirm the accuracy of other evidence being collected by the agency. This is a neat example of "citizen science" — regular folks like you and I making observations that can later inform practicing scientists conducting research around the world. Available for Apple or Android Devices.

Google’s Science Journal App for Android: If you have an Android device, Google has put out a cool little app called Science Journal that is designed to let kids use the sensors in their phones to make observations of the world around them. Most helpful for our eclipse viewing party will be a light meter — which we can use to track the drop in light coming from the sun as the eclipse occurs. Only available on Android devices.

Both tools will be fun to tinker with while we are observing the eclipse. Neither is required — I have them on my phone and will be calling out the data to the kids during the course of our observation. But if your child does have a Smartphone and a data plan, this could be a good time to show them how their devices can be used for more than just watching YouTube videos!

I’ll be talking about the apps in class on Friday — so if this sounds good to you, please see if you can add the apps to your child’s device by then.

Hope this helps,

Bill Ferriter