MONROVIA, CA – Wild Rose Elementary students peaked through a square opening in their handmade sun projectors, made from a cardboard shoe box, hoping to safely catch a glimpse of the mid-morning solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

For almost all of the Monrovia Unified students, this was the first solar eclipse they have ever experienced.

“I thought it was cool – a tiny part of the sun went away,” Wild Rose Elementary fourth-grader Joey Kubel said. “I had fun making the box and I learned that some areas of the sun were not fully covered.”

For the first time this millennium, a total solar eclipse was visible in the contiguous U.S., providing Monrovia Unified students the opportunity to learn about astronomy by experiencing a celestial phenomenon.

Some students made their own viewing devices in their classes while others looked to the sky in safety sun glasses.

“I think it was pretty cool that from a shoe box you could see the solar eclipse without hurting your eyes,” Wild Rose Elementary fourth-grader Amirah Sorra said. “I want to learn more about how it works – if I make a pinhole in aluminum foil in a box, how can it make it look like the sun?”

For Monrovia residents, the partial eclipse started at 9:05 a.m. Aug. 21, when the moon touched the sun’s edge. At 10:21 a.m., the sun reached its maximum eclipse; the phenomenon ended at 11:44 a.m. A total solar eclipse was visible in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky and Tennessee. The District and schools sent out solar eclipse precautions to students and their families to ensure that individuals would have a fun and safe experience.

“Thank you to our teachers and staff for ensuring the safety of our students and families while providing a fun learning opportunity during the solar eclipse,” Monrovia Unified Board President Bryan Wong said. “Monrovia Unified students were able to learn about the astronomy behind this rare event while also experiencing it right in front of their eyes.”

The next solar eclipse that will be seen in the continental U.S. will occur on Oct. 14, 2023 and will be visible from Northern California to Florida.

“By learning more about the science behind a solar eclipse and experiencing this moment in time together, we hope to ignite in our students their curiosity and their sense of community,” Monrovia Unified Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian said.


082417_MUSD_SOLARECLIPSE1: Wild Rose Elementary students and teachers viewed the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 through a handmade solar projector made from a cardboard box. Students had specialized lessons to learn more about the celestial phenomenon.

082417_MUSD_SOLARECLIPSE2: Plymouth Elementary School students looked up toward the sky in their specialized safety solar eclipse sunglasses on Aug. 21.