Party like it’s an eclipse
September 1, 2017
The skies were clear over the Front Range at lunchtime on Monday, Aug. 21. Students at Heatherwood Elementary in Gunbarrel grabbed their protective glasses and headed outside for a solar eclipse party.
“It was really cool that it could get so dark and cold and the sun get so small so fast and then it all just comes back,” fifth grader Joy Allen said of her eclipse experience.
“The temperature really surprised me,” said third grader Simon Schmidt, who measured a temperature drop of 12 degrees as the moon passed in front of the sun.
Though a total solar eclipse happens somewhere on Earth every 1.5 years, what made the Aug. 21 eclipse special was that the path of totality, the location where the moon completely blocks the sun, from Oregon to South Carolina. According to the NASA website, the sun in Colorado was 93 percent covered during the eclipse.
In preparation for the event, Heatherwood students learned about the science behind the phenomena and watched a video about eclipse viewing safety.
Teachers in the younger grades kept students in class groups and provided a guided viewing experience, while older students picnicked on the lawn and recorded data in eclipse observation packets while keeping tabs on the sun.
For the staff and students at Heatherwood, it was a most memorable way to kick-off the school year.