Upper left: Pointview students are amazed while viewing the solar eclipse. Upper right: Westerville Central parent volunteer Alan Bumpus built an eclipse viewer using binoculars and a white board so pupils could watch a real-time projection of the eclipse safely without special glasses. Lower left: Emerson children commemorated the special day with cereal box viewers.
August 21st marked the first full eclipse of the sun visible in the contiguous United States since 1979, and educators in the Westerville City School District took advantage by offering safe viewing opportunities at nearly every school. In Central Ohio, a partial eclipse was visible, lasting more than two hours and 45 minutes, with the moon covering about 86 percent of the sun during the peak time, which occurred at 2:30 p.m.
At Pointview Elementary School, the PTA generously donated 400 pairs of Solar Eclipse glasses for students to wear. Youngsters there gathered outside on the blacktop, along with teachers and volunteers, to watch and learn. Teacher Cathryn Southward-Crane, who coordinated the viewing event, said, “There is no better demonstration of the 5th grade science concept of rotate/revolve than a real-life solar eclipse!”
Science teachers at Westerville Central High School involved pupils in eclipse simulations, made pinhole projectors, watched on-line videos explaining eclipses and showed NASA’s live streaming on the day of the event. After school, the staff and students were invited to an eclipse-viewing event on the front lawn, where educators shared several hundred pairs of eclipse safety glasses and coordinated additional activities so participants could watch the awe-inspiring sight together.
At Emerson Elementary, children watched NASA’s live stream, made pinhole viewers to use outside, and used eclipse glasses. As a special treat, Emerson’s PTA purchased a Sunspotter, a special solar viewing device that will also be used for 5th grade science content.
The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States will take place in April 2024.