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TPS students learning what to expect when solar eclipse comes

TULSA, Okla. — Green Country is one week away from experiencing the total solar eclipse and students throughout Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) are learning what to expect when it comes.

FOX23 attended a science class for their first lesson.

“This week is particularly important for our grade six science students. They are building 10 days of stem projects around the solar eclipse. They are investigating the effects of weather when a solar eclipse is occurring in our region,” said Dr. Jen Miller, academic content manager for secondary science at TPS.

Miller said they got a grant from the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance that helped provide some of the eclipse glasses.

“Every single 6th-grade student is going to go out during the eclipse and watch the eclipse happen. Everyone else has handmade things that they can engage in the eclipse with,” Miller said.

Miller said they want as many students as possible to be able to experience the eclipse. She started preparing teachers for this lesson a year ago.

“Understanding the science concepts behind seeing a solar eclipse just adds greater meaning for students. It allows them to be able to use those keywords that are associated with a total solar eclipse that are essential for having an in-depth understanding and building academic vocabulary around this scientific phenomena,” Miller said.

One of those teachers is Lisa Wada, a science teacher at Central High School, who said during the last solar eclipse she was a first-year teacher at TPS.

“I’m super excited to do it again because the next time this will come through Tulsa, I will probably be retired. It’ll be another 21 years from now,” Wada said.

Wada said she is trying to get them excited about the eclipse and about science, but also make them aware of how to enjoy it safely.

“The fact that it does happen so rarely, it will not happen again for them until they are in their 30s. They’ll probably have children of their own, so it’s really important to use these real-life things in the classroom so students are finding out more about the real world and things that happen,” Wada said.

Wada said she hopes the event sticks with students and will gain a love for science.

“Understand more about the eclipse, how it happens, why it happens and I hope they get a better appreciation for all these different natural phenomena that we have in the world,” Wada said.

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