With a grin as big as a mile, Tammy Larson watched as her students experienced history in the making.

For Larson, superintendent of Turkey Ford Schools, Monday, Aug. 21, was filled with lessons about science and social studies as her students experienced first hand a solar eclipse.

Class by class, Larson brought out the fourth and then fifth and sixth graders to view the eclipse.

With a small budget, she purchased enough glasses through NASA, to ensure each class could spend part of the eclipse outside watching as the moon crossed into the sun's path.

"I think this is probably a once in a lifetime chance for some of these kids, and even the adults," Larson said. "History is being made. It's important to me not to squelch something historical. 

"Even though we are a small rural school, we can afford them every opportunity to be apart of what's going on in the world."

Larson said experiencing the eclipse first hand - beyond watching a livestream or reading about it on the internet - is important for students, especially those who are visual learners.

"Experiences like this bridge the gap in education, because it's hands-on learning," Larson said. "Years from now, they may be telling their kids 'I got to see it'."

Full circle

As a fourth grader, in Corvallis, Oregon, Lorraine Beal remembers her mother checked her out of school to watch the 1979 eclipse from their home.

Fast forward 38 years. Beal, now a fourth grade instructor at Grove Upper Elementary School, had a chance to experience an eclipse again - this time as the teacher.

On Monday, Beal utilized the livestream from NASA to show her students the different aspects of the eclipse, including the corona - visible during totality. 

"I thought how cool is it, I was in the fourth grade and now, I'm watching the eclipse with my fourth graders," Beal said, adding she hoped her students gained a better understanding of the natural event.

"I hope this helps them understand it when they experience it again in the future," Beal said. 

As part of their lessons, which were set to continue on Tuesday, Aug. 22, Beal combined reading with science to teach her students about the steps involved when a solar eclipse takes place, and how the sun and the moon align.

Beal's parents remain in Corvallis, hosting a "solar eclipse party" for family and friends because the city was within the path of totality as the eclipse began in Oregon.

Thoughts about the eclipse

"I love it, because I love science and social studies. I love how the moon comes around the sun in the middle of the day and its so dark. I think I'll still be studying [the eclipse]. I don't think I'll ever quit science. It's my favorite subject." - Karlee Pritchard, 9.

"I'm excited about it, because I want to see it black out all of the light," - Moses Brewer, 9.

"I love it because it's purplish color, a pretty purple and bright with the shadow of the moon," - Alexa Jarvis, 9.

"It's very... there are no words to explain it," LaNayea Line, 11.

"It's really cool opportunity to watch," Alexia Delgadillo, 12.

"It's cool to see darkness during the daytime," - Mason Brown, 10.

"It was bright, even with glasses on. It was cool as it disappeared as the moon was going in front of [the sun]," Pablo Grana, 12. 

"It looks a little darker than usual," Daniel Lehmann, 11.

Editor's Note

Have a photo from the eclipse to share? Email them to news@grovesun.com with "eclipse" in the subject line by Wednesday at noon. We'll feature a few in Friday's issue of The Grove Sun. Questions? Contact Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller / managing editor at 918-786-2228.