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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Teaching the eclipse — safely

When I was in elementary school in Illinois in the early ’60s, there was a total eclipse. I remember being terrified of going blind. I don’t remember the actual eclipse. I must have hid inside. (My sister says it was cloudy that day.)

The Path of Totality for tomorrow’s eclipse will cross 12 states from Oregon to South Carolina. Elsewhere, there will be a partial eclipse. Districts that have started the school year face a difficult question, writes Tim Newcomb on The 74. Science or safety?

School districts from Idaho to Colorado to the Southeastern states are buying protective glasses so students can witness the nation’s first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years with their own eyes.

Let kids experience the eclipse, writes Andrew Rotherham on U.S. News.

While some school districts are making plans for students to experience this rare natural phenomenon, many are treating it as a menace to be avoided and something to protect students from, like a storm or a criminal on the loose. The eclipse, when then moon moves in front of the sun blocking it out during the day, is an amazing experience. Dusk and dawn twice in a day, crickets and cicadas sounding off in the middle of the afternoon, the stars coming out midday. Even in areas where there is not totality, it’s interesting to see and experience – and an incredible teachable moment about the natural world, history, math and science.

Eclipse glasses — real ones — aren’t expensive, writes Rotherham. “Pinhole boxes are easily constructed.” Schools had plenty of time to get parents to sign permission slips.

It’s understandable that the ancients were terrified of eclipses. Professional educators in 2017? There is no excuse.

I’m back in Illinois for a family get-together, but not in the Path of Totality. (Vox has a map showing what you’ll see in your area.) This time, I’ve got my eclipse glasses.

Time has some great photos of an Illinois school where students built “sunscopes” to view the 1963 eclipse.

Image result for sunscope school
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