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Embracing Education: Loveland Residents and Students Delight in 2024 Solar Eclipse Spectacle

Garfield Elementary School fourth-grade student Catie Jackson observed the sun on Monday afternoon through a set of special glasses, joining the multitude across the country in witnessing this extraordinary event. With a grin on her face, she remarked, “It’s cool. It looks like cheese.”

At Backyard Tap in downtown Loveland, David Mayhew captured a photo of the eclipse using his eclipse glasses and another pair over his phone camera lens during an eclipse viewing gathering. The 2024 solar eclipse, with approximately 60% coverage in Colorado at its peak in the early afternoon, attracted various Loveland residents. Adults relaxed and gazed upwards, while children brought their classroom knowledge outdoors to witness the last complete eclipse for the next 20 years.

Backyard Tap hosted an eclipse viewing party where residents could savor a beer, don eclipse glasses, and unwind outdoors. Jessi Benshoof, who, along with her husband Steven, acquired the business in February, shared that although they initially planned to travel along the path of totality for the eclipse as part of a birthday celebration, circumstances didn’t permit. Hence, they decided to host a solar eclipse party instead. Patrons not only enjoyed the spectacle with a beer but also indulged in pizza from the GFL Pizza food truck, adding a fun element to the event with the theme of “pie in the sky.”

Loveland Tap and Tavern co-owners, Kat and David Mayhew, relished the early stages of the eclipse at the beer garden in the company of friends, taking moments to don their eclipse glasses for safe viewing. Loveland resident Dave Munter also appreciated the ambiance at the Backyard Tap watch party, describing it as an awesome venue.

Meanwhile, at Garfield Elementary School, students eagerly transitioned from classroom discussions about the scientific aspects of the eclipse to the outdoors, where they witnessed their first solar eclipse. Students marveled at the changing landscape as they peered at the eclipsing sun through their glasses, likening it to various foods, with some likening it to a banana.

Teachers facilitated different ways for students to observe the eclipse’s effects, such as second-grade teacher Sally Wright, who used a colander to demonstrate how the shadows transformed through the perforations. The students were informed that this would be the final total eclipse for the next two decades in the contiguous United States, eliciting awe and excitement among them.

Garfield’s educators emphasized the significance of allowing students to witness such events firsthand. Caity Carr, a first-grade teacher, highlighted the students’ anticipation leading up to the eclipse, noting their enthusiasm and the perfect timing with their ongoing space unit. Jeff Thomas, a fifth-grade teacher, integrated NASA’s eclipse stream into the morning lessons, aligning with the upcoming earth and space curriculum.

Principal Kathy Sather noted the students’ enthusiasm throughout the morning, emphasizing how experiences like these extend beyond the confines of the classroom, providing real-life learning opportunities that leave a lasting impact on the students’ memories.