Earth and Space Science

Earth Space Science Kindergarten

Hello! I'm a pre-service teacher working on a lesson for kindergartners.  The standard is observing objects in the night and day sky, so that's what the unit is about. For my lesson, I am focusing on the sun. My misconception is that students believe the sun rises straight up and sets straight down. I was wondering if anyone had appropriate activities for kindergartners around the sun. Thanks! 

Stephanie Kanouse
Stephanie Kanouse
245 Activity Points

Hi Stephanie,

I have grandchildren who live in a city with tall buildings so to be able to look at the sun rising, making its way across the sky and eventually setting can be problematic. If the kindergarten students you are planning this lesson with have a clear view of the sky from morning to night it might help to have them observe the sun as it travels across the sky. You also need to be cautious with no direct viewing of the sun as well.

You might first consider the formative assessment probe on sunset to sunrise


Sunrise to Sunset

http://learningcenter.nsta.org/resource/default.aspx?id=10.2...36137381.7

'The purpose of this assessment probe is to elicit students’ ideas about the apparent movement of the Sun. The probe is designed to reveal where students think the Sun rises and sets, and how it moves during the day.'


This would help to find out who has this misconception and why they have it. If you find that your young students think that the sun rises and sets straight up and down you might consider one of the activities suggested in the probe. Have them observe through out the day the sun and have your focus a tall object like a flag pole and a unobstructed view of the sky. Have them map out where the sun is every hour in relation to this pole. You could also have them observe what happens to the shadows of this flag pole. This could be done with simple drawings.

After the students spend the day observing you can ask them to share what they have observed and discovered about the sun and its movements.

Let us know if this helps !

My best, Arlene

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42918 Activity Points

Hi, Stephanie. In my son's kindergarten class, he studied shadows created by the sun's movement across the sky. The students stood in a sunny place, on an X that was marked on the playground. They drew a mark on the ground where the top of their head was at 9:00am, then every hour or two throughout the day so that they could see how their shadow moved as the sun moved across the sky. I hope this helps! Best wishes, Rachel

Rachel Zimmerman-Brachman
Rachel Zimmerman-Brachman
2025 Activity Points

Hey Stephanie, This is a great idea to introduce students to the sun movements. The students will be learning and collecting data throughout the day. I think another thing that could have enriched this lesson would be to have students make predictions. They could create an anchor chart with the information they collected and with the predictions they made. The students could also draw a picture of their shadow as it moves every hour.

Trisha Carmona
Trisha Carmona
1140 Activity Points

I did this with my third, fourth, and fifth grade students a few years ago, only we went out everyday at 10:00 to "Wonder About the Weather". We drew a frame and the sun. It was interesting to watch how the fixed points helped the students see the movement of the Earth. Also, we were outside to see the sun and moon in the sky at the same time. We had some weather stations set up and we gathered data for NASA's Global Positioning Satellite. The kids loved learning in the unexpected classroom of 'outside'. Noticing the movement of clouds and predicting the coming weather was always interesting. Any time the kids can get outside and make observations about the world is a good time.

Cara Cook
Cara Cook
5795 Activity Points

I really liked the idea of having the students going outside and drawing their shadow or the shadow of a flag pole. Exposing students to this activity since kindergarten will help them understand the concept of the sun moving across the sky. I like the suggestion of having students explain why the have the misconception of "the sun simply rises upwards in the morning and then sets downward at night" and then discussing their findings about how the sun moves across the sky. Thank you for the ideas!

Araceli Venturini
Araceli Venturini
835 Activity Points

I really liked the activity that they had the students go outside and standing on the "X" in the playground to learn about shadows. I think this activity would be awesome to do with students because it would get the students attention since they get to go outside to a place they love to go to and play. Very interactive! I will keep this in mind when I get my own classroom.

Amanda Rijo
Amanda Rijo
310 Activity Points

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