When we look up at the night sky, we see billions of scintillating points of light, stars that comprise our Milky Way galaxy. There is, however, one star that we do not see at night. We experience it with each new glistening dawn. From Earth's vantage point this star seems enormous. If, however, we were to travel far beyond our solar system's boundaries, into the broader universe and look back, we would observe that
star is seemingly minuscule when compared to the countless others that adorn the vastness of space. That star, of course, is our Sun. But what is this celestial sphere that brightens our dawn? My curriculum unit, OUR INTRIGUING STAR… THE SUN, explores these concepts and more.
Developed for Grade 2 space explorers (and modifiable for grades 3 through 5), OUR INTRIGUING STAR… THE SUN is presented in an easy-to-use question and answer format zeroing in on fascinating characteristics of the Sun and its overall impact on planet Earth. Through interactive activities, related films and select readings, and writing activities aligned with Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) response to writing strands, students grasp that the Sun is more than a source of light and heatthat it impacts planet Earth in ways often taken for granted. The unit, to be implemented within an eight to ten week period, is interdisciplinary. It is aligned with New Haven Public School Curriculum Standards (Science - Scientific Inquiry 1.0; Earth Science CS 4.0 [Study the Sun]; Language Arts - Reading CS 1.0, Writing CS 2.0, and Speaking CS 3.0; and Social Studies - Diversity CS 1.0 [listening/reading multiple sources of info that reflect diverse cultures]).
It is my hope that OUR INTRIGUING STAR… THE SUN (1) encourages elementary school instructors to expand their scope in teaching about the Sun from a less generalized to a more sophisticated perspective; (2) to arouse curiosity and a love of astronomy among our young learners; and (3) to remind us that our Sun and our solar system are but a small part of an awesome universe!