“Look up! Everyone look up now!”
Outside Claughton Middle School, science teacher Timothy Glass had to work hard to get the attention of a field full of chattering eighth-graders, but he didn’t want anyone to miss out. “On the edge,” he told them, pointing to the sky, “you can see the moon barely covering the sun.”
Teachers and students from Claughton and other district schools took advantage of Monday’s solar eclipse to create an outdoor classroom where students could observe the event in real time, reinforcing their understanding of the solar system and the complicated relationship between the celestial bodies. Before heading out, students lined up inside the building and got their eclipse glasses ready — mandatory protection from the sun’s radiation.
Eighth grader Jiovanni Carlos wished the total eclipse – when the moon briefly blocks out almost all of the sun’s light, leaving only the outer solar corona – had been visible from Houston, but was still glad for the opportunity to view the rare event. “When I first heard that it was coming,” Carlos said, “I got a little bit excited. I was excited to get to see the moon as it goes over the sun. It’s pretty cool.”
Swanese Egland, a sixth-grade teacher at Claughton, hoped students would come away with an increased appreciation for science, knowing a little more than they did when the day began. “It’s sometimes a once-in-a-lifetime experience,“ she said. “It’s something they’ve never done before. It’s something they can remember, maybe tell their kids about.”
Claughton Principal De’Monica Amerson made sure the school had enough eclipse glasses to share so that every student would have a chance to witness the event. “We did not want our scholars to miss the experience,” said Amerson. “This is history.”
Although it’s been almost four decades since part of the U.S. last experienced a total solar eclipse, Carlos and his fellow students don’t have to wait that long for their next chance to see one. In 2024, another solar eclipse will pass over North America, with a path of totality that will pass through Austin and the Dallas-Forth Worth area, giving both scientists and sky-watchers everywhere reason to be excited.