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'Pretty awesome:' Eclipse provides real-life lesson for Palm Beach County science students

Using special glasses, science class at Okeeheelee Community Middle School views solar eclipse outside
Students at Okeeheelee Middle School in Palm Beach County view the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 (1).jpg
Posted at 6:33 PM, Apr 08, 2024

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — People across the country headed outside Monday for a glimpse of a rare solar eclipse.

While we weren't in the path of totality in South Florida, it still made for some exciting viewing this afternoon, especially for science students in Palm Beach County.

Students at Okeeheelee Middle School in Palm Beach County view the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.jpg
Students at Okeeheelee Middle School in Palm Beach County view the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Eclipse

Teacher Annalise Wellman was bursting with pride to share the solar eclipse with her eighth grade science students at Okeeheelee Community Middle School in Palm Beach County.

"The fact that we get to see a celestial phenomenon that is not visible for years at a time and it lines up perfectly with what’s going on with studies, I think that’s pretty awesome," Wellman said.

After some safety rules — like wearing special glasses to view the eclipse — it was time to head outside to witness the rare moment when the Moon passed between the sun and the Earth.

"Talk about real world applications, this is, like, perfect," Wellman said.

Students enjoyed the opportunity to take learning outside their classroom with glasses on and an eye to the sky.

Students at Okeeheelee Middle School in Palm Beach County view the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 (2).jpg
Students at Okeeheelee Middle School in Palm Beach County view the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

"It's a cool experience because I didn't know we'd see it in school," student Benji Salazar said.

While our WPTV news crew can't show you exactly what the solar eclipse looked like because it would've damaged our camera lens, WPTV education reporter Stephanie Susskind said that through her special glasses, it looked like a crescent to half Moon shape.

"Basically a big circle covering the sun," student Byanca Thegenus said. "I got my friends here and we like sharing the experience. So it was pretty fun."

Wellman hopes this encourages some future scientists to see the bigger picture.

"Seeing that the sun can be covered by an object in space is eye-opening, definitely. And it’s important to stay curious about that," Wellman said.