A Stellar Teaching Opportunity in Carson City
What the solar eclipse meant to some of our youngest Nevadans…
Students in Carson City will not forget their first day of classes. Today (Monday), they started their school year with an historic field trip...to their courtyard.
9:45 in the morning, 36 minutes before the peak eclipse…room S-5 at Seeliger Elementary School was as quiet as a library. You could feel the tension and excitement as Carol Reed's 1st grade class sat still and took in every word. You rarely see kids paying attention like this in class. Richard Stokes, Carson City Superintendent of Schools agreed it was a memorable scene. As he put it, "Kids having the first day of school and to see a solar eclipse, it is high, high interest."
It's an important lesson, learning about the eclipse and how to view it safely, because elementary school students are the ones who will be around to watch the next 2 full solar eclipses in 2024 and 2045. Superintendent Stokes told me, "They'll at least have a much better understanding."
For teachers like Carol, the eclipse is a teaching moment…an unusual scientific happening she paired with a lesson. To prepare the kids before they went outside, she went over how eclipses work. Her students practiced wearing the glasses while looking at a light in class to simulate the sun, while she told them, "Pretend like you're looking at the solar eclipse. Show me how you're looking up at the sky. You have to have these special sunglasses. Can you use regular sunglasses?" The class erupted in unison with a loud "Noooo!"
Curiosity hits a peak at 10:10am, when Mrs. Reed says it’s time to see history being made: "Here you go! Leave your snacks and line up please!"
And outside, some pretty amazing reviews. We heard these quotes from the kids: "It's a small moon!" "This is the best day of my life!" "It looks like a slice of red cherry." "It looks like a pizza crust." 1st grader Emma told us, "I saw the moon, and it kept on getting smaller and smaller each time we looked. It looked pretty cool." Classmate Katarina added, "Yes, it was like a Halloween moon, for reals." And from Bella: "The sun was orange and then it turned pink and then it was red."
No one was left without glasses. The success story for education here was planning. Superintendent Stokes told us, "We've been aware that this was going to happen at the end of last school year."
For these students, this wasn't just another field trip. This made memories, on the unforgettable first day they ever saw the sun…disappear.