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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Ohio 4-H adventures into totality

Adams County 4-H'ers use their special safety glasses to view the eclipse.

Ohio experienced its first total solar eclipse in more than 200 years earlier this month and counties across the state celebrated in style. Read about how a few of our county 4-H programs commemorated the occasion.

Adams County
Adams County 4-H members, volunteers, and staff took their solar eclipse viewing experience on the road as they traveled to Dayton to see the eclipse in the path of totality. They spent the morning exploring the National Museum of the United Adams County 4-H'ers explore the National Museum of the United States Air Force.States Air Force, where they learned about early aircrafts, discovered how flight was first used in warfare, climbed aboard a model space shuttle, and walked through the daily life of an astronaut.

“It was fascinating to climb aboard a model space shuttle and walk through the daily life of an astronaut,” said Carlie Cluxton, Adams County Extension intern. “The 4-H’ers were really interested in how they prepared and cooked their food while in space.”

As they waited for the eclipse to reach totality, the group kept these educational opportunities going by participating in a MyPlate lesson while they enjoyed a delicious eclipse-themed snack prepared by the Adams County SNAP-Ed program assistants. “The kids were excitedly looking through their glasses to give us updates on how close we were to totality,” said Cluxton. “Once the moon eclipsed the sun completely everyone began to cheer and applaud. Our group could not believe how dark it had gotten—nighttime in the middle of the day!”4-H members in Jackson County participating in eclipse-themed activities.

Jackson County
With students being released early from school to view the eclipse, the Jackson County Extension Office saw the opportunity to throw a 4-H Solar Eclipse Party. Throughout the afternoon, more than 100 youth and their families gathered at the Extension Office to make space-themed crafts and participate in a series of fun, educational activities before heading outside to view the eclipse through special safety glasses courtesy of Ohio 4-H.

The kids got messy as they made their own galaxy slime, created friendship bracelets out of UV reactive beads, used Oreos to learn about the phases of the moon, and more. The UV reactive friendship bracelets turned out to be a big hit. “The beads were clear when inside, but outside in the sun they turned all sorts of fun colors,” said Maddie Allman, Extension educator for 4-H in Jackson County. “The kids had a fun time trying to guess what color the beads would turn in the sun, and they got to learn more about how UV rays interact with the earth.”

Lorain County
Lorain County 4-H professionals and volunteers embraced the spirit of the eclipse by bringing a variety of STEM activities to SolarFest, a three-day event starting on April 6 and ending with the total solar eclipse on April 8. A Lorain County 4-H volunteer demonstrates the ways shadows change shape during an eclipse.Sponsored by the Lorain County Senior Fair Board, the event featured food trucks, vendor booths, a professional telescope provided by The Great Lakes Science Center, and a pair of ten-foot-long solar viewing glasses complete with the necessary protective film so guests could safely view the eclipse through them.

Attendees who visited the Lorain County 4-H STEM booth had the opportunity to embellish their eclipse glasses and have them fitted to their heads, make UV spectrum bookmarks, and crafted LED circuit necklaces.

Other activities included lessons on symmetry and space to create a model of the sun, moon, and earth by inserting brads into cardstock print outs to show how they orbit around one another. “We also led youth through the Space Lander Engineering Design Challenge, which taught them about drag forces and stability,” said Sally Hennessy, 4-H STEM Educator in Lorain County. “Participants used a set group of supplies to design and build a unique landing vehicle that protected their marshmallow astronauts from demise when the lander was dropped.”