Seasons: The Sun


The students will learn about the role of the sun in the galaxy.
Students will understand how to use the sun to tell time.
Students will tell time using the sun.


Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains over 100 billion stars, yet only about 6,000 of them are visible to earth. The sun is the easiest star to see because it is much closer to the earth than the next closest star.

Although the sun appears to rise in the east and set in the west, it is the movement of earth turning on its axis that causes this phenomenon. The Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus concluded that all the planets, including the earth, revolve around the sun.

The sun does not really set. It stays in one place and always gives off light. Daytime and nighttime occur because the earth rotates. When the half of the earth where we live turns away from the sun, it is nighttime here, while it is daytime on the other half of the earth. When the half of the earth where we live turns toward the sun, it is daytime here, while it is nighttime on the other half of the earth. This can easily be demonstrated using a globe and a flashight in a darkened room.

The term day is the 24 hour period of time from midnight to midnight. It includes day time and night time hours. Explain that the sun can be used to tell time, ask why it may be necessary to use the sun. Explaining that a sundial is a clock that runs on the light from the sun. More information on the Sundial


1.Make a KWL chart. Ask students what they know about the sun, what they want to learn about the sun and what they have learned about the sun. Divide students into groups, have each group do the Online Scavenger Hunt about the sun. When the scavenger hunt is completed have students come back together and share their findings. List the facts that students have learned on the chart under the L.

2.Take a ball of clay and flatten into a circle. Stick a popscicle stick straight up on end in the middle of the clay. Place the sundials in a sunny area of the playground. Have students mark their sundial, every hour where the shadow falls, on the clay. The next day take the students outside and have them tell time using the sundial.

3.Drawing shadows - Take the students outside on a sunny day. Using wide chalk, let them outline the shadow of the school at different times during the day. Let them stand in a certain spot and have a partner outline their shadow. Go out later and note the changes in the shadows. Where are shadows now? Are they opposite the sun? What direction does the sun rise in? Where does it move as it goes through the sky? Which direction does it set in?


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