School District Readies Students For Solar Eclipse

 

Kelly Barber, Washoe County School District STEM coordinator, holds a pair of glasses that will be distributed to students Monday for the solar eclipse.
Kelly Barber, Washoe County School District STEM coordinator, holds a pair of glasses that will be distributed to students Monday for the solar eclipse. Photo: Carla O’Day

Eyewear to watch Monday’s solar eclipse will be provided to all students in Washoe County schools and district officials see it as an exceptional learning experience.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids to experience a phenomenon and be able to talk about it in class,” said Kelly Barber, district science, technology, engineering, and mathematics  (STEM) coordinator. “Our kids learn best from experiences and this is something we can all experience together.”

On Monday at about 10:20 a.m. local time, a total solar eclipse will be visible. The moon will pass between the Earth and sun, obscuring the sun’s image.

In the Reno area, coverage will be about 83 percent; although a specific band of the country between Oregon and South Carolina will experience totality.

At Lincoln Park Elementary School in Sparks, students have been watching videos related to the eclipse and teachers have been sharing resources, said school STEM coach Tracey Gaffney.

“We’re inviting all our families to come out Monday,” Gaffney said. “Once those invitations go home, we’ll hear a lot more chatter about it.”

The importance of keeping glasses on will be stressed to students, district staff said. Most eyewear was bought with grant funds. Others were acquired through STEM grants and some parent organizations purchased equipment.

Younger students will be given hand-held solar viewers.

“Because of the size of the glasses, they could fall off them, whereas little fingers could hold the viewers better,” said Sylvia Scoggin, district science program coordinator.

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire country was in June 1918. The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be in April 2024, but it will only stretch from Texas to New England and up through eastern Canada.

For more information: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov

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Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 233 Articles
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.