■ by HUSD / Contributed
Fun and engaging activities are important to create a love of learning. Western Center Academy staff used the recent solar eclipse as a teaching tool about various viewing techniques and safety tips. Here in Hemet, we only saw a partial eclipse, but that didn’t stop staff from creating a day for students to further their knowledge about solar eclipses.
Leading up to the solar eclipse, students spent a lot of time going over safety protocols and how to safely view the eclipse. Students used NASA-approved glasses, purchased by the school to track the path of the sun during the three-hour event. Before the eclipse, students were able to go onto an online forum and submit questions they had about the solar eclipse. They learned about the difference between a lunar and solar eclipse, different myths and legends from cultures throughout history and how they explained an eclipse, and learned what causes an eclipse. The majority of the day was spent deepening students’ knowledge about eclipses and informing them of on a variety of ways to view it.
Some students decided to crank things up a notch and think outside of the box to gain valuable data during the eclipse. Tanner Packham, a senior, used a telescope and placed a piece of paper a couple feet away from the eyepiece, so the image could be projected onto the paper for safe viewing. In addition to the telescope, he used an Arduino to measure the voltage output, which measures the amount of solar energy throughout the eclipse.
“We hope this was memorable for our students,” said Assistant Principal Michael Horton. “There will not be a total eclipse visible in Southern California for the rest of our lives. Even though we only had about 60 percent coverage, scientifically, this was a special day for us.”