Safety First, Fashion Second as Schoolkids View an Eclipse (Eliza Berman, 1963, LIFE)

If you ever have the chance to view an eclipse, you’d do well to take a tip from the 1963 fifth grade class at the Emerson School in Maywood, Illinois. Wielding cardboard boxes and knives that today would surely get a kid suspended, the students demonstrated for LIFE’s readers how to safely look at an eclipse.

During the solar eclipse of 1960, hundreds of people had suffered permanent eye damage from looking directly at the sun. With help from the Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness, Emerson students avoided the same fate by building Sunscopes, pinhole camera-like contraptions that indirectly project an image of the sun. The magazine offered instructions for those wanting to replicate the project at home: