Eclipse 2017 sparks STEM interests

Eclipse sparks interest in STEM

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Eclipse 2017 is being called a monumental teaching tool.

Educators in Mid-Missouri, and throughout the path of totality, are hoping the eclipse will pique an interest in young students when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs.

Dr. Angela Speck, from the University of Missouri, said she saw a great opportunity to inspire young people with STEM education. The Mizzou director of astronomy and ABC 17 News eclipse contributor took advantage of the eclipse “before, during and after” Monday’s moments of totality.

Dr. Peter Stiepleman, superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, said Monday’s eclipse “activities absolutely gave children an opportunity to experience a celestial event they'll never forget.” He said his own children want to chase the next total solar eclipse in 2024. He also said he anticipates an increase of interest in CPS' Columbia Aeronautics and Space Association program, which he calls “Columbia's version of NASA.”

At least one Columbia high school teacher says she's optimistic the eclipse will have a long-term effect.

Hickman High School teacher Janice Morris said she’s optimistic the 2017 eclipse will have a long-term effect and "I hope that the fact that they had an opportunity to see it at an age like this where hopefully they're going to remember it for the rest of their life."

It seems to have made an impact with student Wyatt Moore. "It was hyped up a lot. A lot of people were really excited about it and everything. And I didn't know what to think about it at first. But when it finally happened and I did see for myself I was awestruck honestly,” Moore said.

Teachers will likely use pictures and videos from Monday to keep some of that educational excitement alive.


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