Eclipse Day

A day of learning, fun and celebration

"It’s just a crescent, now!"
"It’s definitely getting cooler."
"Look through the telescope!"

The mood was festive and exploratory as John Jay teachers and students gathered outside the school wearing their district-issued eclipse glasses and watched the moon slowly cover the sun.

Despite Katonah-Lewisboro Schools not being in the Zone of Totality, and the most exciting moments happening after the school day ended, Eclipse 2024 was a day of learning that brought all students into an astronomical event that captivated much of the nation.

Spanish Teacher Brooke Pennica with Class

teaching planetary science

"Why doesn’t a solar or lunar eclipse happen every month?" seventh grade science teacher Suzanne Guziec asked her classes.

Her students created eclipse models with a tennis ball, clear cups, clay and a flashlight that demonstrated how the moon’s orbit around the earth is tilted in relation to the earth’s orbit around the Sun.

“Students have been learning about scale and proportion in math,” said Guziec. “The model helps them to understand how the relatively small size of the moon can block all of the sun."

Making a model of the Eclipse

Teachers sprinkled eclipse-related lessons throughout the day.

At Katonah Elementary School, third grade teacher Lynn Garofolo wove creative writing and social studies into Eclipse Day. She read Solar Eclipse, a poem by Allan Wolf, and students identified the rhyming sequence, personification and other literary devices that the author used.

The class also looked at ancient explanations for eclipses from Chinese, Egyptian, Germanic and Native American cultures, then groups of students created their own myths to explain the phenomena. They shared their stories of two dogs fighting, Orion shooting arrows at the earth, and Zeus and Hades in a power struggle with the whole class.

John Jay's Latin classes talked about the ancients’ response to eclipses, too. “They would see it as a sign from the gods,” said teacher Matt Knittel. He added that the word eclipse comes from the Latin eclipsis, drawn from the Greek ekleipsis, which means to fail to appear.

A Deep Partial Eclipse

Eclipses Across the Curriculum

From playing Solar Eclipse Toss in elementary PE to a look at fast food restaurants’ eclipse specials in Marketing and Business class, April 8 was a day of astronomy-related fun and learning. Even John Jay High School’s morning bell got in on the action, playing a snippet from "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Bonnie Tyler) at 8:10 to start the day.

“Cross River will be in the Zone of Totality on May 1, 2079,” physics teacher Dan Longhurst said to his students. “It’s a Monday, just like today. Let’s all meet here, shall we?”