OAK RIDGE - The Great American Eclipse may be over, but it has created a new generation of kids inspired by space and interested in science.
At Linden Elementary School in Oak Ridge, the kids roaming the hallways can't stop talking about the eclipse.
"Whenever I saw it, I was just amazed, I was just speechless," said Jaylee Weaver, a third grade student. "I didn't know what to say."
The second, third and fourth grade classes at Linden Elementary all went to Roane State Community College on Monday to view the eclipse in the path of totality.
The elementary school students conducted experiments and launched weather balloons with the help of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
When Oak Ridge schools decided to stay open on Aug. 21, third grade teacher Lisa Buckner knew that she wanted to make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime teaching opportunity.
She applied for grants and organized a field trip into the path of totality with the goal of inspiring her students to be interested in science.
"There was hooping and hollering, it was amazing," said Buckner, speaking about the two minutes of totality they experienced. "Maybe one of my third graders will actually step their foot on Mars and remember, 'I got excited about space and the world beyond earth in Ms. Buckner’s class.' That would be amazing."
For Jaylee Weaver, the field trip and learning about the eclipse in class inspired her to have a new dream job.
"It made me want to be a scientist and start studying planets and stuff," Weaver said.
Many in the third grade class are already talking about going to see the next eclipse in seven years. By that time, they'll be in high school.
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