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BRE solar eclipse watch party

Students at Buffalo Ridge elementary school witnessed the recent solar eclipse together during a school-wide watch party picnic. The school supplied NASA approved glasses and a sack lunch for each student, and families were invited to attend.


Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) capitalized on the recent solar eclipse. On April 8, a school-wide community event was scheduled during the peak viewing hour. Principal Jen Murdock-Jacoway ensured the school had enough NASA-certified viewing glasses for each student to have a pair.

All kindergarten through fifth grade classes met on the school field for a picnic lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Kitchen manager Beth Farrar changed the menu for the day to a sack lunch so students could quickly and easily take their food outside.

BRE families were also invited. School librarian Amiee Valuck created a solar eclipse music playlist that played over the outside loudspeakers, creating a fun and party-like environment. Students also participated and watched various hands-on science experiments while they patiently waited for eclipse maximum at 12:40 p.m.

Many students do not remember the last solar eclipse in 2017, so they experienced this fascinating natural phenomenon for the first time. Some students were unprepared for the eight-degree temperature drop and shivered.

Leading up to eclipse day, many teachers assigned extra science activities. During library time, Aimee discussed the students’ eclipse knowledge and then students created models. The older grades read the book Totality!: An Eclipse Guide in Rhyme and Science by Jeffrey Bennett. The younger grades watched a video: Solar Eclipse for Kids, by Socratica Kids.

BRE staff was excited to participate in natural science as it happened, to take advantage of real-time events to show students science is more than just a topic in school. Aimee summed up the event when she said, “The best part was coming together as a community out on the field to watch together. It was a very cool experience.”


By Celeste McNeil; photo courtesy of Tim Ryckman



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