WCSD students watch solar eclipse at school

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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - At Kate Smith Elementary School, kids in all grades got to take their science lesson outside the classroom Monday. Armed with eclipse safety glasses from the Washoe County School District, they were ready to witness an event that had never happened in their lifetime.

"Today is the total eclipse," said Kelly Barber, STEM Coordinator for the Washoe County School District. "We will only see a partial eclipse here, but our students are really excited. They've been studying about the eclipse in science classes, so they're really excited."

The students started gathering outside their classrooms before 10:00 a.m. so they could track the moon's movement in the sky. But around 10:19 a.m., they braced for the moment they had been waiting for.

"I see the moon getting closer to the sun and the sun is looking like a smile," said Giovany Hernandez, a third-grader.

"It looked cool," said Juan Villegas, a fifth-grader. "It looked like the moon blocked the sun. The sun looked like the moon when it's like crescent shaped."

This viewing event on campus was not just an opportunity for students to witness the moon passing between the sun and the earth; it was a chance to talk about the science behind it with others.

"It's most important for our students to have experiences, and this is a phenomenon that they get to experience, and we're really excited that they get to go home and talk about that with their parents and for a long time," said Barber. She said every elementary school in the district was having students participate in solar viewing events. Many middle schools and high schools were, as well.