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Northern Vermont is in the path of totality for a rare total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8.

Getting schooled on eclipses: Addison County students dive into the cosmic spectacle

A teacher shows a group of students how to gauge distance.
Andrea Laurion
Salisbury Community School science teacher Amy Clapp demonstrates for students how gauging distance will play a role in the upcoming eclipse.

In the library at Salisbury Community School, older elementary-age students lead the younger ones through eclipse activities. That includes fourth grade student Harper, who explains an experiment to her first grade peer, Olivia.

"So, I’m going to hold the sun, and then Olivia is going to close one eye — not, not yet, not yet! — and then she’s going to put it in front of the sun and it’s going to be eclipsed," Harper says.

Another fourth grader, Rowan, shows his first grade buddy the states that will also experience a total solar eclipse, beyond Vermont.

"We have a map that shows the line of totality and all the states in totality will be the states that will have a full solar eclipse," he says. "So there’s Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, there’s New York, and that’s most of them."

Meanwhile, a math module asks the students to calculate what age they’ll be for the next solar eclipse here.  When one student notes that the next solar eclipse is in 2079 and the students realize they'll be 63, 64, and 65 years old, they laugh at the thought of being grandparents.

Science teacher Amy Clapp says Salisbury is just outside the line of totality, and she’s encouraging families to visit nearby Middlebury to view the eclipse. Clapp says it’s important for kids to have an opportunity to understand the eclipse at their level — whether that means thinking about the relative sizes of the moon and the sun, or pondering the vastness of space.

"But, probably the most important thing to me is that kids walk away from this realizing they’ve experienced something incredible," she says. "And they get that sense of wonder and awe that makes learning probably the most exciting thing you can do."

A sense of wonder and awe that, in 2079, these students might pass along to their own grandkids.

More eclipse resources

See all of Vermont Public's 2024 eclipse coverage.

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Andrea Laurion joined Vermont Public as a news producer for Vermont Edition in December 2022. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., and a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. Before getting into audio, Andrea worked as an obituary writer, a lunch lady, a wedding photographer assistant, a children’s birthday party hostess, a haunted house actor, and an admin assistant many times over.
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