Sun Learning Activities and Book Suggestions
The end of the school year signals the beginning of summer for many students. This is the perfect time of year to teach about the sun and have some “fun in the sun” performing learning activities!
Explain that the sun is actually a very big star in the center of our solar system. It is the closest star to the earth and is 109 times larger than the earth. Two suggested books to read are:
Visit the website http://www.neok12.com/Sun.htm for lessons and videos about the sun.
Shine a flashlight (representing the sun) on one half of a globe and explain that half of the world is having daytime while the other half is having nighttime.
Young children have a natural curiosity about science and the world around them. The next set of activities encourages children to observe the world around them and investigate the answers to open-ended questions which help develop children’s growing scientific minds.
Place a chocolate bar and some metal objects on 2 metal baking sheets. Place one in the sun and one in the shade.
Observe and allow students to feel them after several hours (check the objects first before students touch them as they may be too hot to touch at first). Discuss what happened and why. You can also use this opportunity to explain that the sun can burn our skin which is why it is important to protect it with sunscreen and to protect your eyes with sunglasses.
Use a flashlight, the flashlight app on your phone, or another light source to make shadows of various objects. Allow students to experiment with the light source and lead them to understand that a shadow is made when a light source is blocked by an object. Challenge them to see if they can change the size of the shadows (if the object is close to the light source it blocks more light so the shadow is bigger, if the object is far away from the light source the shadow is smaller).
Explain that when you are outside, the sun is the light source that creates shadows. Head outside and observe the shadows of trees, buildings, cars, etc. Observe whether an object’s or person’s shadow moves if it moves. Measure each child’s shadow throughout the day by marking it with chalk and then having them stand in the same spot later and see what happens.
Make a simple sundial by pressing a pencil into a piece of clay and attaching it to a square of posterboard. Place it outside and mark with a pencil where the shadow falls. Check it throughout the day and show the children how the sun changes position throughout the day.
Play shadow tag (played like regular tag except the person who is “it” must step on a child’s shadow to tag them).
Paint objects outside with water (the building, playground equipment, etc.) and see how long it takes for the sun to dry it up (have children predict times beforehand). This is such a simple activity and students love it! They stay busy for a long time painting! You can allow them to paint with brushes, sponges, rollers, etc.
Make your own suncatchers. We would always make the tissue paper suncatchers, however this website shows over 50 different suncatcher crafts that kids can create!
Create your own sunflowers. Click here to view 4 sunflower crafts that children can create (the paper plate & sunflower seeds one was always a favorite!).
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