This unit was written to be used in a third grade classroom, but can easily be adapted for use in a second, fourth, or fifth grade. The unit deals with the sun and how it affects life on earth. The unit does not include any serious discussion of the individual nine planets. Its focus is the sun and the development of our solar system and the universe. It is organized around a set of questions, from: where did the sun and planets come from? , and what is the anatomy of the sun? , to: how does the sun affect our weather?, and how do we have night and day and the seasons?
The unit offers a set of hands-on experiments and demonstrations. There is also an experiment on the absorption of light, and how it is affected by color, and a demonstration of the colors contained in sunlight. There is also a demonstration of how the universe is expanding, and the effect it has on the galaxies using a balloon and beads, as well as raisin cake. The unit also provides an annotated bibliography of teacher and children's books, as well as a list of some of the many astronomy sites available on the Web. There is also an appendix listing the specific science standards covered by the unit.
(Developed for Elementary Science, grade 3; recommended for Elementary Science, grades 2-5)