Westside Community Schools prepare for eclipse

Posted at 4:49 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 17:49:17-04

"This is something you learn about in 6th, 7th, 8th grade and now all of a sudden here's this event that's so rare. That shows everybody -- science is cool it's not boring, said Angela Bergman, Earth space science team leader Westside High School.

More than 7,000 students, staff and faculty at Westside Community Schools will be turning their sights to the sky August 21, to catch a glimpse of the total solar eclipse.

"To have this go through the United States and go through the state of Nebraska - and to be 98 percent eclipsed here in Omaha - is a big deal," said Bergman. "That's what makes it once in a lifetime."

Science teacher Angela Bergman says it's taken about two years to plan for the about three hour event. 

First up - securing certified viewing glasses for about seven thousand. It was made possible with a grant from the Westside Foundation.

Next up - planning the day's lessons with some help from districts across the state thanks to some friendly crowdsourcing.

The day's activities will incorporate all subjects from history and social studies to biology. 

"Different cultures looked at eclipses as different things. Some cultures looked at it as as an animal eating the sun," said Bergman.

"The science too is not just astronomy based. Its biology based. What's going to happen to all the different insects, are the cicadas going to start singing?" said Bergman.

Bergman's even produced a set of videos with eclipse safety guidelines - with tips like to always look down before slipping on your viewing glasses. 

"Everybody glances at the sun every day. The problem with the eclipse is that it's going to appear darker so you might be tempted even as an adult to look at it a little bit longer. That can still cause eye damage, said Bergman. 

You can check out Westside Community Schools eclipse viewing guidelines here.