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Eclipse Provides Unique Learning Opportunities for Students

Eclipse Provides Unique Learning Opportunities for Students

by Annie Glosky, Associate Head of School for People & Program

On Monday, April 8, students, faculty, and staff found comfortable spots on our beautiful campus to experience the solar eclipse together.

Throughout the day, excitement had built as students learned about the eclipse and practiced wearing their solar eclipse viewing glasses to ensure safety during the viewing. Some of our younger students even made paper plate masks to provide a kid-friendly way to hold their solar eclipse viewing glasses up to their faces during the viewing.

Greensboro Day School Solar Eclipse

Middle and upper school students participated in assemblies led by Science Department Chair Nancy-Kerr Lynch and Director of Health Services Linda Knox Register ’79. Ms. Lynch explained the science of how an eclipse occurs and stressed the historic nature of the experience. Students were surprised to learn that they will be in their 60s and 70s the next time a total solar eclipse occurs in Greensboro in 2078! Nurse Register emphasized the need to wear solar eclipse viewing glasses for safety and explained how looking at the sun directly can damage the eyes 

Lessons leading up to the eclipse included hands-on activities to visualize the solar eclipse. In science class, Junior Kindergarten students made a craft that allowed them to move their popsicle-stick moons to demonstrate a partial and total eclipse.

Greensboro Day School Solar Eclipse

First graders made chalk drawings to represent the corona created by the eclipse. Throughout the campus, students and teachers modeled a solar eclipse by pretending to be Earth and holding up the "moon" (a ping pong ball or tennis ball) to block the "sun" (a larger ball held by the teacher). Second graders extended this lesson by using their moons to model a partial, total, and annular eclipse. 

Greensboro Day School Solar Eclipse

Our Eighth grade students relied on the knowledge they acquired during an astronomy unit earlier in the semester to understand the eclipse. In that unit, according to Eighth Grade Science Teacher Michael Welter, “students learned about the complex yet predictable motion of the massive objects in our solar system and specifically look at the special circumstances required for us to experience solar and lunar eclipses on Earth.” The eighth graders also studied the documented history of eclipses, including mythological stories that attempted to explain the phenomenon.

Greensboro Day School Solar Eclipse

The eclipse viewing was a special community experience during which many expressions of amazement could be heard as the light and temperature changed outside and as the peak of the eclipse took place. One group of middle school students even broke into song with an impromptu rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” to celebrate the occasion!

Greensboro Day School Solar Eclipse