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Heatherstone Elementary students in Olathe combined classwork, observation with Monday's solar eclipse

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Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 08, 2024

OLATHE, Kan. — Heads up and shades on, students at Heatherstone Elementary School in Olathe gazed into the sky Monday with anticipation.

“It's starting. Is it gonna turn fully dark ?” exclaimed Alex Reichuber.

The solar eclipse wowed the 11-year-old.

“This is just like the coolest experience I've ever experienced," Alex said. "This is blowing my mind. This is so cool. I'm just imagining how big the solar system is for that to connect in seven, eight years."

RELATED | Kansas Citians of all ages take in 2024 North American eclipse

Like Alex, it was the first time many of his classmates experienced an eclipse.

“I think I would've remembered, but I don't remember,” Alex said.

Before the students saw the solar eclipse, the prepared with a preview of what to expect, thanks to the help of a few marbles.

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“There are a lot of things you can do with marbles, but there is a thing called the 'eclipse marble,'" said Rich Maxwell, also known as the "Marble Man." "It is the color of the universe. There are a lot of blues and reds that go with the sun, and they are round like all the planets are.”

Monday was a day for students to sit outside on their beach towels and make memories they'll never forget, one teacher said.

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“When it actually happens, and they feel the calmness that happens, and the darkness that instantly happens and then it instantly goes away — we're going to have some great conversations when we get back," said Heatherstone teacher Nancy Smith.