Reimagine Learning

What Defines a Teachable Moment: Solar Eclipse 2017

Across the country people stopped to experience the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st. Total solar eclipses happen infrequently.  So, Wednesday was an opportunity for people to experience an out-of-the-ordinary environmental phenomenon. We also were reminded by educators, scientists, and the press, that the eclipse would be a teachable moment for millions of people – a real-life opportunity for a hands-on lesson about the solar system.


While our team enjoyed the educational moment that the eclipse offered, the moment also left The Second Avenue Team with questions that we as educators and members of the education community must ask. Why was the eclipse a teachable moment? Why were so many people engaged and excited to learn? Was it because of the extraordinary nature of it? Was it because the experience was a collaborative one – one enjoyed as a community? Or were Monday’s exclipse viewers engaged and excited with learning because they could stand in the warmth of the sunshine wearing goofy glasses?

Based on our background in the education space, our team at Second Avenue Learning team believes the word “experience is” key. The eclipse offered people around the country a hands-on “experience”. It allowed us to engage with the content and learn how planets and stars interact with one another.

Hands-on learning. Experimenting. Playing.

This kind of engagement fosters excitement and promotes student learning. At Second Avenue Learning, we know that when we create innovative learning experiences, and when we focus on engaging and exciting students, we are more likely to see improved student outcomes. This is Second Avenue Learning’s philosophy. Experience is at the core of our engagements with our partners and when we create our own learning technology. When we align innovation with research, we see can see how the programs we creae truly enhanced learning and inspire students.

Student success can be achieved through fun, play, and exploration. Most recently, we have created a rigorous, accurate, and effective intervention that improves STEM performance, supports feelings of self-efficacy in STEM, and increases student affiliation with science and mathematics. In fact, one of our newly released units allows students to experience the concepts of optics – the very content which can support learning about what causes an eclipse.

As we look at teachable moments like Monday’s eclipse, we challenge the community to consider how the eclipse offered students of all backgrounds and ages a teachable moment. We ask educators to question if they have the tools that can help them deliver to their students more “eclipse-like” moments inside the classroom. We ask publishers and EdTech companies to create meaningful interactive content that delivers an engaging experience. And we challenge ourselves to create and inspire our partners, educators, and students alike.