Students turn solar eclipse into STEAM experience

Students learn about solar eclipse glasses ahead of solar eclipse viewing at Euchee Creek Elementary on Monday.

GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) – Monday will be a once in a lifetime scientific experience for many and students in one local school district will be taking advantage of it. Columbia County decided to keep kids in school and teachers have already started preparing their classes for the solar eclipse.

It’s a day that ends early for some districts, but students in Euchee Creek Elementary School plan to use eclipse Monday learning more about STEAM.

NewsChannel 6 went into a second grade classroom where one students expressed a range of emotions about the celestial event happening next week.

“It makes me feel a little excited and nervous,” Abigail Johnson said. “They’ve been saying that the earth, the moon and the sun are all going to go in a line and the moon is going to make a shadow on the sun so it’s going to be dark.”

Johnson is ready for the 2017 solar eclipse and for her future career in science. She’s one of hundreds of students at Euchee Creek Elementary who are building pinhole projectors and understanding why viewing the sun is only safe with ISO glasses.

Katy Yeargain, Euchee Creek Principal told us, “I have actually met at length with a local optometrist whose children happen to go to our school and after speaking with her I am so much more confident about this whole process.”

Euchee Creek’s principal added students will head outside about ten minutes before the peak of the eclipse and head back inside about five or ten minutes after the event happens. She says every person on staff and even parent volunteers will be on hand to watch students and make them keep on their solar eclipse glasses.

“We’ve even got extra protective hats for the children, some of the younger children to wear, so they will not be able to easily get them off of their face. They would have to take them off and look into the sun for several seconds for it to do real damage,” Yeargain said adding that she’s no doctor, but was confident based on her conversations with the optometrist.

Teachers have been preparing for several months now. Debbie Rogers said she started a year ago doing research and brought the idea to make the solar eclipse a day on for students.

“We’ve talked about why we have the sun, why it’s important, what it does for the earth. We’ve talked about the moon,” the fourth grade math and science teacher said.

Also helping the kids prepare was a local astronomer who stopped by to tell students how it all works and how they should look out for images afterwards taken by NASA planes.

“The corona, the light that comes from the sun that causes the corona to appear. That’s the only time we get to see it,” White added.

Abigail is ready to put her glasses to use and see all that she can see.

She said, “So you put it on like this and you hold it and you turn around and look at the sun after you put them on.”

The principal said the school participates in a lot of STEM and STEAM activities so they are hoping some scientists come out of eclipse day. And Abigail tells us she’s already thinking about being a scientist or a doctor.

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