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Rupley Students Get a Great View of Solar Eclipse at Harper College

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On August 21, 2017, CCSD59 students, along with many in North America, were able to see one of nature’s most amazing and unusual sights – a total solar eclipse. A solar eclipse, where the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun, can last for several hours and are relatively rare. The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979, so students were quite excited to be able to safely share in such an exciting event.

Across the district, students participated in the celestial celebration in all different ways and locations, all bearing student safety in mind. For example, thanks to a partnership with Harper College, Rupley students in 3rd and 4th grade had the opportunity to participate in a free viewing event onsite at Harper’s campus in Palatine.

As part of Harper’s Ambassador Program, Rupley students have visited the campus for tours, participated in Harper-led classroom activities, and heard Harper’s students talk about college in Rupley’s classrooms. Amie Granger, community relations manager at Harper, connected with Rupley Principal Diana O’Donnell about how they can work together to support learning experiences for students. Granger invited Rupley’s students to the free eclipse viewing so the children could have firsthand experience in the unique event.

Through our collaborative partnership with Harper College, our students had the opportunity to create more questions, build scientific understandings, and learn as astronomers.

Diana O’Donnell

“Our goal is for our students to become scientists, and this was a safe, educational experience for students to observe this event within our local community,” said O’Donnell. “Through our collaborative partnership with Harper College, our students had the opportunity to create more questions, build scientific understandings, and learn as astronomers.”

The eclipse viewing event at Harper was a collaboration across their Mathematics and Science division, several professors across disciplines, community relations and publicity partners, and Harper volunteers, who worked together for the benefit of the community.

The students who attended the event were able to participate in different activities learning about the sun and viewed live streaming from NASA of the eclipse at Harper’s Performance Center. The event featured demonstrations of plasma, ultraviolet bead experiments, and solar telescopes. Students were also able to utilize safety pinhole viewers, where an image of the sun is projected onto a screen through a small viewing hole, which Harper had provided for students to make ahead of time. Harper also purchased 1,000 pairs of safety-approved viewing glasses that students were able to wear and share during the event.

Granger says that since science is sometimes very book-oriented, these types of unusual, real-world opportunities get everyone excited to learn. “Today, across America, thousands of people are going to be doing science together to learn about the sun,” she said. “These ‘real world’ science events are so important for two reasons: they show science is for everybody, and they show how, when we work together across the country and across the world, we can discover amazing things.”

Third grader Kessiah B, who said she never saw “the sun and the moon pass by together at the same time” agreed. “I like how Harper College gave us the opportunity to take a field trip to come here and see the eclipse and do all the crafts that we made. It’s the coolest thing we ever did in school.”

For more info about the eclipse, check out NASA’s website.

Eclipse5web

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