Science Shorts: Here Comes the Sunby: Barbara Adams

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Time is an abstract concept for many elementary students. Add to that the idea that the position of the objects in the sky—Sun, Moon, etc.—changes over the course of the day, and you have a mix ripe for confusion and potential misconceptions. In the following lesson, children have the opportunity to make multiple observations of the Sun’s location in the sky throughout the school day. Such observations help students recognize changes in the sky, notice the repeating pattern of the Sun’s location from day to day, and deepen their understanding of the abstract concept of time.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (5)
  • on Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:49 PM

This brief article is saturated with usefulness. The article begins with some informational reading for the teacher that leads into the student lesson. Where is the Sun in the sky throughout the day? The lesson is written in 5 E format and includes important pieces such as the discussions about the limitations of a 2 dimensional model for a 3D object.I like the fact the students are actually participating in the model.

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)

  • on Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:52 PM

This 5E lesson is a good introduction the relationship of the movement of the Sun and the Earth. Students will learn about using models to explain things as well as being able to observe and describe the path of the sun as it appears to move across our sky during the day. This simple activity is perfect for the younger elementary students. Suggestions are provided for the older student as well.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:55 PM

Adams uses models to demonstrate what causes day and night. Her explanation is simple enough for a young student to understand, yet provides enough information to engage the advanced student as well. Also included was a discussion on measuring time with the sky, which helps students understand the importance of the tilt of the axis. While the lesson is laid out in what appears to be a single day format, in reality, it took 2 days with the 3rd grade students I worked with. I kept each of the concepts separate and then asked the students how the two ideas fit together. The questions provided were great starting points, and the adaptations and extensions were useful for students at higher levels.

Sandra Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandra Gady (Renton, WA)

  • on Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:57 PM

Ms. Adams has outlined a simple, but interesting, lesson to be used with students in grades K-3 to help them understand that the Earth rotates every 24 hours to create night and day. Students get to go outside several times on the day of the lesson, to observe and record their observations of where the sun is in the sky each time. They use stationary objects--houses, trees, other buildings--to observe then record where the sun hits each object at different times during the day. The lesson includes a materials list, stated objectives, and connections to national standards.

Allison Cooke
Allison Cooke

  • on Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:56 AM

Barbara Adams, you through an observational activity used with k-3 students to observe and describe the path in which the Sun appears to move across the sky at various times of the day. Students are asked to draw what they experienced and describe their models in the drawing. Doing this activity with your students during each season and discussing sun's position and changes will help with beginning understanding of seasons.

Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton

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