The Great American Solar Eclipse is less than 2 weeks away.  Showtime is on August 21st 2017.  This is the first solar eclipse to cross the whole continental North America in a long while.   Many of you will have started the school year so this is a great learning opportunity share with your students, either as a classroom or whole school activity. There is alot of great information about the Solar Eclipse online.   We’ve compiled some teacher resources on this page, for those that reside on the path of totality (umbra) or where there will be a partial eclipse (penumbra).  Either way it’s a teachable moment that doesn’t come along to our neighborhood very often.  While we’ve mostly focused on what we can do with the sun’s energy that shines each day on here on Earth (Solar Schoolhouse), the solar eclipse is a great catalyst to taking a closer look at our planet, sun, and moon… which can reinforce the Sun’s status as our primary energy source here on Earth.


Map of the Total Solar Ecilpse path, and how much partial shading in other areas. [Click image to enlarge]

On the resource page, we’ve compiled strategies for engaging your class or school, where & how to buy solar eclipse glasses,  ideas for solar eclipse art, short videos on the history of solar eclipses, how to calculate the effect of the solar eclipse on solar power production at your school and throughout the state, and some recipes for solar eclipse treats.

Solar Eclipse Posters designed by Tyler Nordgren, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at University of Redlands.

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Review by Caitlyn Thomasson

Hope.  This is the inspiring emotion that energized everyone in the crowd during the screening for the film “Tomorrow,” by Cyril Dion, which introduces an empowering vision for the future of humanity and the environment, one that is optimistic, creative, and purposeful. 

This film highlights what our reality on earth could look like if people come together and apply regenerative and sustainable solutions in agriculture, energy, economics, democracy, and education. In facing the world’s biggest issues, it inspires humans to act on a local scale, by applying to the simple actions that everyone in the community can be part of.  The global solution is right in our backyard. 

This was not a depressing or scary film that leaves viewers paralyzed with fear or despair; it was an uplifting documentary that motivates collective action and passion. It also cleverly integrated the use of poetic, deliberate, and powerful messages within the lyrics throughout the sound score, by Fredrika Stahl. 

By documenting examples of real life solutions being conducted in communities of different scales all over the world, it was an effective way of bringing to light the power of people when they come together with a common goal of supporting a healthy planet for present and future generations to come.  This film is a must see for those who need some good news and action steps for making the world a better place!

 to learn more, visit

We’re excited to offer this new workshop series for Sonoma County area educators.  Energize your classrooms and empower your students with solar energy activities and projects.  As we move toward a clean energy future, it’s important to explore the possibilities through hands-on and project-based activities.  Because of its role as the primary energy source on Earth, the Sun’s energy is central to these explorations.  Workshops will be held in Sebastopol, at the Solar Schoolhouse workshop/live space that is a ZNE (Zero Net Energy) home powered primarily by the sun.

Scenes from Solar Schoolhouse

Scenes from Solar Schoolhouse

Educators attending these workshops will receive the Solar Schoolhouse ‘Your Solar Home’ curriculum, classroom solar cell sets, material for specific solar projects, and the training to implement lessons in your own classroom.  We’ll also be available to consult and help set up a project at your own school or classroom.

Thanks to our generous sponsors, we’re able to offer these workshops and classroom materials FREE to educators, though registration is required due to limited space.  Follow the link below to register for the workshop or workshops of your choice. 

Date Topic
Feb. 22 Solar fountains for School Gardens (ES, MS, HS)
March 8 Build a Solar Charging Station (MS, HS)
March 29 Build a Solar L’Oven (MS, HS)


ES=Elementary School, MS=Middle School, HS=High School

To learn more and to register visit

Several scholarships are also available to Sonoma County Educators to attend the 2017 Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute for Educators – July 23-28th in Sebastopol. to learn more and apply

The 5-day Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute for Educators (SIE) for 2017 is scheduled for July 23th-28th, in Sebastopol, California. This the 15th year we’ve offered this solar energy  professional development experience for educators.  Consistent themes are hands-on, relevant, real-world… and fun!  As you explore Climate Science and it’s effects with your students, it’s important to provide an element of hope… through exploring clean energy options. Increased solar literacy provides students the necessary tools to become active participants as we move toward a clean energy future.

Educators at the 2016 Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute share one of their creations – solar notebook cellphone & emergency lighting chargers.

Educators at the 2016 Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute share one of their creations – solar notebook cellphone & emergency lighting chargers.

Participating Educators learn the fundamentals and history of passive solar design, solar thermal, and solar electricity, then apply these lessons in a variety of projects (simple solar ovens, model solar homes, solar powered fountains, cell phone chargers, LED lights, and more).  Lessons are adapted to your teaching situation and aligned with Common Core & Next Generation Science Standard goals.

Limited scholarships are available. To Learn more and to Register visit

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