By Emanuel Pena
The entire country might have watched the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, but the fifth-grade students at Trusty Elementary School made the event extra special.
In the days leading up to the event, teachers made sure to share with students as much as possible about the rarity of the event, which only comes around every 99 years, and the safety precautions for viewing the eclipse. The teachers themselves were as anxious as the students.
“(The experience is) a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Robyn Bates-Wilson, fifth- and sixth-grade teacher.
Students prepared for the solar eclipse by making special masks out of paper plates and approved viewing glasses.
“You will get blind permanently if you look at the sun,” warned student Tevion Perry.
Teachers instructed students to record the time and the temperature while they observed the total eclipse. They included this information in the citizen scientist program on NASA’s website. This interactive opportunity encouraged students to practice their observation, patience and concentration skills.
The students stood at the ready with their special glasses and viewing devices at the suggested eclipse time. Each child marvelled as their surroundings got darker, knowing they were about to witness something special. Seeing the eclipse from a child’s perspective was special, too.
“Oh that’s so cool” was the phrase nearly everyone expressed while viewing the moon cover 88 percent of the sun.
Remembering their duty as citizen scientists, the students all checked the clock and thermometer first when the sky darkened, then when the sun started shining bright again. Despite only seeing a partial eclipse, the totality of the event will live on in the students' minds for years.
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