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Pre-Eclipse

Morgan Jacobus

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The Great American Eclipse; a defining moment in U.S History. An astrological event that will be across the entire landmass in almost 100 years. Sure, solar eclipses happen more often than that, but not like this. “The last one, which was visible from coast to coast in the USA, occurred on June 8, 1918 several months after America’s entry into World War One.” (Source: Americans don’t know what they don’t know about eclipses).

The Plan

Science department coordinator, Julie Scheffel, has been planning this monumental event since last school year. Since starting the school year is notoriously stressful, Scheffel approached a new administrator in her department about this event early on, before summer began.

 

“I got a few teachers to come with me this summer to come up with a plan, because I didn’t like that people weren’t thinking about [the eclipse] and I wanted students to have the opportunity to see it.” said Julie.

 

Over the summer the plans were finally coming together after months of work. At this point the school district started sending emails out to people in order to get them finally thinking about what was going to happen.

 

Fundamental, but Dangerous; The Glasses

Glasses now are running expensive, with many exceeding $100, yet CT is going to have thousands, how so? The answer is the school district. Over the summer they sent out a form that schools could fill out saying how many were needed. Scheffel ordered plenty for everyone; every student, every teacher, along with some for any possible volunteers. Even if everybody is on board, there will be plenty.

 

Even so, there are many glasses that are not up to par. There have been several situations where people are getting glasses and they are not correct. Scheffel reported that one of the science teachers in her department even got a pair of glasses that he ordered that were not correct. There are also news stories of people ordering glasses, whether from Amazon or other websites, but they aren’t the ones they ought to be using, leading to many being recalled. With correct glasses, you should be able to hold them up to the light you shouldn’t be able to see anything. With such a dangerous celebration as staring at the sun for minutes on end, there is no room for error. No need to be alarmed, for Scheffel has ensured that the glasses for CT’s viewing of the eclipse are completely certified and safe, however the burden of safety then falls upon the students.

 

Scheffel says, “Even having good ones doesn’t make everything okay; you have to make sure they are not scratched, bent, or damaged.”

 

She goes on to advise that students don’t put them in their backpacks, under sheets of paper, or anything else. Everyone needs to be extremely careful in order to make sure that no one is in danger of eye damage. This insurance is also the responsibility of the teachers, for it is the 3B teachers that are going to hand out the glasses before everyone heads outside. However, it is having to be taught because different teachers with different disciplines “have a lens with doing things, and in science we are super sensitive to safety in what we teach, which isn’t present in every subject,” According to Scheffel. As long as everybody cooperates and follows safety instruction, everybody will be safe to view the solar eclipse.

 

Lessons, Lessons, Everywhere

According to chemistry teacher, Mrs. Scheffel, one of the goals of science teachers is to be critical thinkers and really get kids “geeked out” on science, but also teach them there is a place for what they are learning. A common misconception among students is that they don’t need to learn certain subjects because it isn’t what they are going to major in or grow up to do, however that isn’t all you are getting.

 

“You may never do a calculus problem or a stoichiometry problem again, but the skillset you are developing is something you can transfer into jobs; ANYTHING you could possibly go into.” said Julie.

 

There are reasons that we do things. There are reasons why we don’t multitask when we drive. There are reasons why you don’t mix random chemicals, and there are reasons why these eclipse viewing glasses are so important. The biggest lesson that you can gain from this experience is safety.

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