Produced for K-12 educators, Teach This Poem features one poem a week from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. The series is written by our Educator in Residence, Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, and is available for free via email.

Featured Poem

Mid-Infrared Image of a Star Forming Region in Orion Nebula

Orion Nebula


Classroom Activities
  1. Ask your students to look closely at the composite image from the NASA SOFIA telescope of a star forming. How does reading the poem “Toward the Winter Solstice” enhance their experience of looking at the image? What colors and shapes do they see? Where do they think new stars may be forming? Why? (For more information on star formation in Orion, read the article “SOFIA Opens New Window on Star Formation in Orion” on the NASA website.)
  2. Ask five students to read one stanza each of “Toward the Winter Solstice” out loud. Repeat the process with another five students. The listening students should read along to themselves and circle what jumps out at them, including words they do not understand.
  3. How does seeing an image of actual star formation in Orion add to their experience of the poem? What might poets and scientists learn from each other’s work?