Linden Public Schools embrace solar eclipse for educational and enriching experience

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LINDEN, NJ — Linden Public Schools celebrated the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, by turning this natural phenomenon into a unique learning experience to support student achievement, a primary goal of the district. Lesson plans were crafted to educate students about the science behind solar eclipses. Class activities were chosen to teach about the movements of the sun and moon. The district provided eclipse glasses for safe viewing and Superintendent Atiya Y. Perkins supported students and staff by visiting School No. 2 and School No. 10 to observe and participate in classroom activities.

At School No. 2, some kindergartners were learning what it looks like when the moon covers the sun by drawing their own eclipse using black paper, colored chalk and paper moons. As they discussed the eclipse with Perkins, the students made connections between the superintendent’s attire and the colors of the eclipse. Principal of School No. 2 Peter Fingerlin said, “I know we are nervous and we’ve been prepped not to look at the sun. However, if we have the proper equipment, which the district is supplying, and the proper guidance, either from educators or parents, these students can now connect things that they see in a book to things that are actually happening in real life.”

At School No. 10, Perkins joined Principal David Walker, Ms. Day’s first-grade class, Ms. Burt’s second-grade class and Ms. Demarzo’s third-grade class to witness the monumental spectacle. Students and staff put on their safety glasses and turned their heads to the skies in wonder, while questions and observations flowed freely as they discussed the science behind the eclipse and its significance.

Elsewhere in the district, students created stunning eclipse-themed artwork. From intricate headbands adorned with celestial motifs to informative graphics detailing the phases of the eclipse, each piece showcased the students’ talents and ingenuity. In one pre-kindergarten class, Oreo cookie eclipses provided a deliciously tactile way to understand the mechanics of the phenomenon, while in art rooms, paper plate “sun and moon” collages emerged as colorful interpretations of the celestial dance.

Principal William Mastriano of School No. 6 said he feels that the event covers the whole learning process, adding, “It fits in across the curriculum. You can talk about it in history, in science and many different subject areas. The next one’s not going to happen for over 20 years. Our teachers have totally embraced it and we’re thankful to be here with them.”

In the days after the eclipse, students returned to their classrooms to discuss their observations and reflections. Teachers seized the opportunity to reinforce the concepts they had learned, guiding discussions on the science behind the eclipse and its broader implications for our understanding of the universe.

The solar eclipse had not only provided a memorable experience for all involved, but sparked a newfound curiosity and appreciation for experiential learning. In celebrating this rare event, the district has brought learning to life in a way that will resonate with students for years to come.

Photos Courtesy of Meremu Chikwendu