Students in central Ohio learning to observe the eclipse safely

WORTHINGTON, OH (WCMH) – Hours from now, people across central Ohio and across the nation will be watching the solar eclipse.

Students at Worthington Schools will be taking part in the viewing using special eclipse glasses, purchased by the district back in April.

In Tyler Hollinger’s sixth-grade classroom at Granby Elementary, students prepared for the big day on Thursday, learning about the eclipse and how to observe it safely.

“Whenever we have opportunities that maybe are once in a lifetime, or once every long time, we need to take advantage of them,” Hollinger said.

To prepare, students learned about how eclipses work and practiced wearing the glasses while looking at a halogen light bulb in the classroom to simulate the sun.

Students also learned how to prepare their own pinhole projectors, allowing them to look at a projection without looking directly at the light. In the classroom, the halogen bulb in the lamp was not circular, but rather, a long, thin rectangle. The projection shows that, not the circle of light the lamp itself appears to give off.

“It surprised me about the lines, like when my teacher turned the board and it just, like, it kept on making different lines,” said Alexa Zink, a student.

For teachers, the eclipse is a teaching moment: an unusual scientific happening, paired with a lesson for students.

“I think it’s really cool that we get to do this,” Aaron Yerkey, a sixth-grader, said. “I’m really excited to go see the solar eclipse, because that doesn’t happen all the time.”

The eclipse is also a chance to teach the students about safety and how that should apply to all scientific experiments.

“We want our students to know we don’t look at the sun during an eclipse, but hopefully we transfer that over also to any time they’re doing any kind of investigation, they’re thinking about the safety issues that are involved as well,” Hollinger said.

That’s a lesson students are taking seriously. Asked what they had learned about safety and danger when it comes to eclipses, students knew specifics of what not to do and how to observe safely.

“You should never look at the sun because it could make you go blind, and to put on the glasses before you look at the sun,” Yerkey said.

“If you look at the sun, then it could damage your eyes and it can also blind you, so those are like the most damages that can happen to your eyes,” Zink said.

Students from all classes and grade levels at Granby Elementary and other Worthington Schools will be out observing the eclipse at various times Monday afternoon. It’s expected to hit its fullest point in central Ohio about 2:30pm, Monday.

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