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posted: 8/16/2017 5:33 AM

Arlington Heights teacher helps visually impaired students experience eclipse

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  • Judy Greene of Arlington Heights is helping her blind and visually impaired students experience the eclipse.

    Judy Greene of Arlington Heights is helping her blind and visually impaired students experience the eclipse.
    Photo courtesy of Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired

 
 

A blind Arlington Heights teacher is helping others with visual impairment experience Monday's eclipse.

Judy Greene, who teaches earth and space science at the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Winnetka, spent three weeks teaching her 50 online students, ages 14 and up, about the eclipse and different ways they can experience it.

"They'll use their senses," Greene said. "Some students have light perception, so they might be able to notice changes in the light. There'll be a drop in temperature they can feel. They can hear the birds getting quiet, and feel the peace that goes over the Earth."

While she admits not all the students are gung-ho about it given their limitations, many are really excited.

Greene's been aided in her teachings by NASA's Braille eclipse guide and tactile map, which allowed her students to understand the path of totality and how the sun and moon will move. It was created by a visually impaired NASA engineer, Ken Silberman, as part of the "Explore the Universe with NASA and Hadley" series. It includes a free webinar, which can be seen at https://hadley.edu/Eclipse.asp.

Greene said she plans to go out and see the eclipse in her backyard and will be wearing protective glasses.

Hadley spokeswoman Joan Jaeger said the school staff, many of whom are visually impaired, plan to go outside on Monday and watch the eclipse together.

"Even if you're what we'd call fully blind, you can still see the difference between light and dark," she said. "You use your other senses."

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