Our Star, the Sun: Try these everyday activities that teach elementary and middle level students about the sunby: Mary Kay Hemenway

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Is the word “star” the first idea that leaps into your mind when you think about the sun? Some people think of warm summer days, beaches, or romantic sunsets. Children may think of something round and bright that is out in the daytime and disappears at night. But astronomers see the sun as our closest star—an example that can be studied in detail. Therefore, this article offers some everyday activities that teach elementary and middle level students about the sun.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (4)
  • on Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:21 PM

I have the priviledge to review Yesenia Gonzalez collection named “Sun”. “Our Star The Sun” By Mary Kay Hemenway is one of the articles of this collection that caught my attention not only because it is a great source of information about our closest star, “the sun”, but also because it is a great resource for teachers and students who will have the opportunity to participate in activities that teach them about the Earth/Sun’s relationship by time, observation of the sun, how changes on the sun influence on earth, our sun’s characteristics, and more. It was a great experience because I got information that I will use in the future with my students in the classroom.

Ana Hernandez  (Hialeah, FL)
Ana Hernandez (Hialeah, FL)

  • on Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:37 PM

This article is a great background read if you would like deeper understanding of the Sun as a star. It is filled with activities that you can do in any elementary classroom. My class has been working with the shadow activities, which have been a great addition to our daytime sky observations. The article references the "SCOPE Solar Poster" which is still downloadable and has additional activities listed on the back. You can fidn the poster here: http://www.as.utexas.edu/mcdonald/scope/poster/poster.htm

Caryn Meirs  (Smithtown, NY)
Caryn Meirs (Smithtown, NY)

  • on Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:35 PM

This article describes a handful of activity ideas that could be adapted and integrated into lessons about the sun. These are not lesson plans, but are instead suggestions for how some concepts could be taught using activities and student-developed experiments. There are a couple of ideas for elementary classrooms, but most are aimed at middle school grades. Although the premise of the article seems to be based around the idea of using the sun as an example of a star in order to learn about stars in general, these activities seem like they would be better placed in a unit about our solar system specifically. The first two pages of the article provide some useful background information. If you are looking for some basic and accessible information about sunspots, this could be a good resource!

Katie R
Katie R

  • on Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:24 PM

While the activities offered in the article may be appropriate for elementary students the content is more advanced. Yes at 6000 K the sun is a ball of gases but gases very different from those familiar to younger students. Elementary students are concrete thinkers and not ready for the conceptual presentation offered here. I like it as a nice introduction for high school students.

Pamela A
Pamela A

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