KNOXVILLE (WATE) — One of the first lessons of the year for students won’t happen in the classroom, but high above it.
Students in Knox County will have Monday off for the solar eclipse, so teachers are taking advantage of the time they have in the classroom to teach about the phenomenon.
Fourth graders in Tracy Barnes’s classroom at South Knoxville Elementary are using basic art supplies and their creativity to make homemade eclipse viewers.
“It’s good to learn about it because it’s a once in a lifetime chance,” said Kaydence Clark, a 9-year-old student. “We are having fun because we get to be creative.”
Her teacher hopes she takes away an important lesson.
Barnes adds, “I hope that they get to experience the fact that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I hope they enjoy the fact that we get to have a learning experience day, but in a very fun and engaging way.”
The students were able to test out their pinhole cameras with a flashlight shining through a box to see how light reflects.
Jacob Ward, an 8-year-old student said, “We cut the sides out. Then we put aluminum foil right here, poked a hole in it, put tape on it. Then when you look in here, you see a light.”
Every student in Knox County is taking home NASA-approved eclipse glasses, but Barnes wants projects like this to stress the dangers of looking at the sun without proper eyewear.
“We want to make sure that they understand regular glasses will not support them,” said Barnes.
When students return to class on Tuesday, they will give a report on what happened during the time of totality.
“I’ll have them journal and write about what they’ve done and what they experienced and how it affected them and their families,” said Barnes.
Barnes hopes hands-on lessons like the ones done in her classroom will inspire a new generation of stargazers.