Solar eclipse becomes teachable moment for students, teachers

People gathered at Pease Middle School for event

By Stephanie Serna - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - There were watch parties all across San Antonio for Monday's solar eclipse, including at Pease Middle School.

Pease Middle School sixth grade science teacher and coach Scott Hutchinson, who organized the solar eclipse viewing party at the school's football field, said he wanted to share the experience not only with his students, but the entire community even though school doesn't start until next week.

Hutchinson said when he saw an eclipse for the first time, he was a student at Pease.

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"It wasn't a total eclipse. It was a partial eclipse," Hutchinson said. "I remember our teacher taking us outside in the parking lot and us being able to watch it. That really was a moment for me. How interested I was in science and how cool everything was to me."

More than 200 people packed the football field on Monday afternoon, including Janie Rodriguez and her family, where her son is a student.

"It's important to me," Rodriguez said. "I've always liked science and I have my kids and I think the teachers did a great job by putting this together."

The school gave away 200 specialty glasses to view the eclipse. But others got creative, there was a welder's mask, some people were using their phones indirectly and some of the kids made their own solar eclipse viewing gear.

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"The sun goes through here," said Jaime Pruneda about his homemade eclipse viewing gear. "You can see it through here and when the moon goes over the sun. You can see it on the white paper."

Hutchinson said the watch party is also a learning tool, bringing these types of opportunities for students to experience science, instead of just reading about it.

"They (the students) know that it can be a fun situation, even when you're learning," Hutchinson said. "Sometimes they don't really know they are learning, but it's still fun to experience it."

Hutchinson said he's also planning another solar eclipse watch party at the school in 2024. That is when parts of San Antonio will be in the path of totality.

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