Brookhaven, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Vinings schools use solar eclipse as teaching tool

Schools in the Brookhaven, Buckhead, Sandy Springs and Vinings areas took a break from being indoors Aug. 21 to step outside and safely view the solar eclipse.

Though the last total solar eclipse in the United States prior to this week’s one was Feb. 26, 1979, the next one is expected April 8, 2024, according to NASA’s website. That one is supposed to travel northeast from Mexico through the states of Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Vermont.

The next annular solar eclipse that can be seen in the continental U.S. is predicted to take place Oct. 14, 2023, and will be visible from Northern California to Florida, according to NASA’s website.

At Holy Spirit Preparatory School. fifth- through 12th-graders went outside this afternoon to observe the solar eclipse from its campuses in Buckhead and Sandy Springs. Using NASA-approved eclipse glasses, the students got to observe the moon cross the sun for about 45 minutes at the end of the school day. The photography class built a special camera obscura, a cardboard box that, with the help of a pinhole in one side, projects full-color images onto the inside wall of the box – similar to the cereal box projectors some people used to observe the eclipse, but on a larger scale.

Also, the school’s Parent Volunteer Association gave ice cream to the students and faculty while they braved the heat.

At the Davis Academy in Sandy Springs, lower and middle school students were immersed in a day of learning about the solar eclipse with interactive classroom activities and instruction in the morning and outside viewing of the eclipse in the afternoon. Fifth-graders visited each classroom in the lower school (Mechina: kindergarten prep through fourth grade) to share a presentation and lead a class discussion about the solar eclipse, when and how it occurs and why safety glasses are needed for viewing. In the middle school, every science class experienced a solar eclipse simulation and participated in various interactive activities to prepare for the event in the afternoon.

The school supplied ISO-certified solar eclipse-viewing glasses from American Paper Optics, one of the NASA approved providers, for every student and faculty member to use during the viewing of the eclipse. Students came to school wearing black and white clothing in honor of this historical event and enjoyed various solar eclipse-themed activities throughout the school day.

At St. Jude Catholic School in Sandy Springs, the future question for this generation will not be “What were you doing when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?” or “Where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated?” but “What did you do for the great eclipse of 2017?”

The St. Jude students will have an exciting story for their children and grandchildren as they recount how the entire student body was ushered into the cafeteria where they watched an original STREAM (science, technology, religion, art and math) play about the eclipse while enjoying a snack of Sun Chips. Following the play, they each donned their NASA-approved eclipse viewing glasses and went outside where they stood, sat or laid on the ground, waiting for the celestial event of their young lives. After viewing the phenomenon, they returned to their classrooms for another suitable snack – Moon Pies – which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2017.

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