Scientific Activity 1: Don't be a Galileo
Be sure the students know never look directly at the sun, with or without sunglasses! Legend has it that Galileo Galilei lost his vision from viewing the sun without protecting his eyes. Students can view the sun indirectly with a white piece of paper and a telescope or binoculars. Remember, do not look through the telescope or binoculars at anytime. If binoculars are used, keep the cap on one of the lenses to prevent overlapping images. Set up the telescope or binoculars on a tripod and aim it at the sun. If a white piece of paper is placed across from the lens and image of the sun will appear. Adjust the focusing knob to create a clear picture of the sun and move the paper in and out to adjust the size. Have students record their observations for later use as topics are discussed. By repeating this activity daily student can also observe the progression of sunspot activity. Students will also observe the sunspots rotating. These activities can also be found in
Astronomy for All Ages
Scientific Activity 2: Layers of the Sun
Students can create a model and diagram of the sun using half of a styrofoam ball, markers, toothpicks, and a piece of paper. Using half of the styrofoam ball, color the three internal layers of the sun. Trace the flat part of the ball onto a thick white piece of paper. Cut out and discard the circle. Using the toothpicks and paper students can label the internal structure of the sun and the photosphere. The white piece of paper can be used to diagram the outer two layers of the external atmosphere, cut, and then taped to the ball.
Scientific Activity 3: Round and Round
Students can use their bodies to show the rotation and revolution of the sun. Have one student stand in the center of the room to emulate the sun. Students can then form a circle around that person. Students can begin by revolving around the sun. As the student walk in a circle they can also spin themselves. The two movements are examples of how the Earth rotates and revolves.
Scientific Activity 4: Geometric Plants
Planets need sunlight to produce food. Sunlight is absorbed through the leaves and this can be seen through these activities. Pick a tree or house plant for this activity. Cut a shape out of aluminum foil about half the size of the leaf. Paperclip the shape onto the leaf and after a few sunny days, remove the shape. Students can record their observations and discuss the implications.
Scientific Activity 5: Cloudy Classroom
For this activity you will need a jar, ice, metal dish, and warm water. Place the ice in the metal dish and let stand until the dish gets cold. Fill the jar with one inch of warm water. Place the cold dish on top of the jar. As the warm water evaporates, a clod will form near the top of the jar. This activity is from
How the Weather Works
Scientific Activity 6: Eye of the Storm
Fill a large clear bowl with lukewarm water. Stir the water in a circle until the water moves by itself around the bowl. Add a few drops of food coloring into the center of the bowl. The food coloring will move outward forming bands just as hurricanes do. This activity is from
How the Weather Works
Scientific Activity 7: UV Beads
UV beads are a great tool for students to visualize the effects of ultraviolet light. Search the internet for sites that sell these beads, you can purchase hundreds of beads for only a few dollars. For this activity students should each get 8 beads. Have them bring in their sunglasses and any suntan lotion they may have at their house. On a sunny day have students expose their UV beads in the direct sunlight and record their observations. Discuss what occurred and have the students speculate why. The student can then split their beads into four equal plies. The first pile will be the control, the second covered by sunglasses, the third rubbed with suntan lotion with an SPF less than 15, and the fourth with an SPF 15 or greater. Create a hypothesis with the students on what the effects will be. Record observations and draw conclusions. Hypothesis what would happen on a cloudy day. Test this hypothesis and compare to previous results.