FSDB Student in viewing box on ground to safely view solar eclipse.
  • FSDB Student's eclipse journal entry page
  • FSDB Christina Thackston and her class trying to fight rain and see eclipse.
Cloudy Eclipse For DMS Space Scientists

At approximately 1:45 pm on August 21, 2017, FSDB Deaf Middle School students, teachers, and administrators headed out to Palm Row to try their luck at viewing the solar eclipse.  Thanks to FSDB Administrator of Instructional Services Tracie Snow’s proactive ordering of hundreds of pairs of special eclipse glasses in the spring, students were safely equipped for this unique learning experience.

DMS students mostly used these glasses but some constructed viewing devices of their own. The largest viewing device in Palm Row <see photo> was the charming “Big Box of Science,” which allowed its viewers to climb right underneath and observe. Other students built smaller versions of the box pinhole projector.

Several DMS teachers coordinated the event: Cally Traetto taught space science concepts in class and created Eclipse Journals for students to use; Terri Samson taught various historical myths about the eclipse; Missy Kaler taught eclipse safety; and Carolyn Cassidey taught math concepts such as trajectory.

As part of their science instruction, students drew what they observed via time lapse observations in Eclipse Journals. Students began recording their observations at 1:50 pm in 10-minute increments. Everyone was hyped up and ready.  Unfortunately, as happened in many places in Florida, students were not able to view the eclipse clearly due to extensive cloud cover. At times when the clouds thinned, the glowing yellow crescent created as the moon crossed in front of the sun was visible. But by the 2:47 pm time of totality (total eclipse), the clouds had thickened and it was not visible. Another complication – it began to rain. The Science Warriors Award goes to Christina Thackston and her class <see photo> who stayed put until the sprinkles had turned into legitimate rainfall.

Deaf Middle School students were good-natured about their disappointment and took the opportunity to chat with their classmates and teachers while they were outdoors, enjoying the event and fresh air.

By Christi Boortz, Instructional Services

About FSDB
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is a fully accredited state public school and outreach center available tuition-free to eligible Pre-K and K-12 deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired students. Comprehensive educational services at FSDB are individualized, specific to the unique communication and accessibility needs of each student for independence and lifelong success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To visit the school or to learn more about eligibility for enrollment, contact 1-800-344-3732. For more information, visit